One of the most vile things in existence to me I think is the red pen. I know I’ve bemoaned the pain of editing and that fact hasn’t changed, and I know I’m not alone in facing the evils or editing. Though there is more to the pain of it beyond just having to look at the nitty-gritty details. It is the fact of being told you are wrong. Growing up I remember loathing papers that came back with any red marks on it, lest it was a big fat A with a 100 following it. It loathed the marks, learned from them but I loathed them it pointed out flaws and problems.
Now of course there are not grades, my novel won’t ever get a percentage point and letter grade, nor do I expect it to have bright read slash marks though it. Instead I get evil little red bubbles, and there are times that I hate them with every fiber of my being. Now I will say my editor is awesome and some times those bubbles contain happy things complimenting sentence structure or even indicating bemusement. Or simple things like “add comma here.” Simple easy stuff, I don’t mind adding a comma where needed even if it gets tedious. Where the comments get me is when a scene needs to be re-worked or a whole scene that I didn’t want to write needs to be written or I have to go through the whole novel adding in a particular element.
These comments have killed me. In conjunction with these comments I’ve been struggling with working on a second story and my confidence has been going down the tubes. I’ve been hating my work and my writing. I have fully questioned my skills and talents and asked the dreaded questions of “What makes you think you can write?” and “What right to you have to be writing?” Extreme thoughts, I know but that is where my head has gone.
Confidence shattered, I didn’t know where to go and what to do. In some ways I wanted to keep writing, to keep creating but to face the stories and ideas that were mocking me in my face was too much. I even got to the point of Googling “How to increase writing confidence”. Google, while something like my best friend as I use it for almost everything was not very helpful. There were maybe 2 blogs available. It was classic things, things that I got and already did like “Practice Writing”. I’ve got that down I write, a lot, but that doesn’t mean I believe in what I’m writing or that any of it is good. So that was out, but one idea did hit me.
When I first read that idea for building writing confidence I mentally scoffed. That is what I’m struggling with getting something to be publish worthy. It was the last point on they blog I read and I was ready to scream. Then my brain went back to my root back to one of my early starts in writing. Fan fiction. I used to write and publish fan fiction. Publishing isn’t fully out of my reach. I can still post fan fiction if I so wish. Maybe finish one of my many unfinished project from back in the day. So I pulled up the old fanfiction account and looked at what I had written. In an instant, I was struck by how different my writing is not than it was before. I have gotten better! That is a confidence boost to say the least!
So while I wait for the final dreaded chapters to come back from my editor and stew over my loathed, yet loved ideas for my next novel I started to play with an old fan fiction. I rewrote the first chapter, putting forth what I feel is a stronger voice and incorporating elements that I didn’t think about in the past that logically would happen. After the exercise with that first chapter of fan fiction I am starting to feel pretty good. I haven’t published what I have re-written but I already feel better. I figure it doesn’t hurt to go back to my roots and simply practice the art of writing, relax things and make the writing process play instead of work again. I figure eventually the bug for something else will bite me and I’ll go running down the rabbit path of a new store or finally have the stomach to re-write and re-work something I’ve already written that is original.