Crisis of Confidence

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

In the last three years, I’ve had three books published.  I had two unpublished novels doing the rounds when Lyrical Press picked up SUFFER THE CHILDREN, and so DEATH SCENE was already finished when my editor asked me if I had anything else she could take a look at.  And the short stories in SOUL SCREAMS were also written – it was just a case of compiling them.

Since I finished writing DEATH SCENE in 2004 I’ve started four novels.  None of them I’ve managed to finish.  The original sequel to DEATH SCENE was an homage to Agatha Christie’s TEN LITTLE INDIANS, but halfway through the first draft I decided it wasn’t working and I shelved it.  Then I started work on my urban fantasy novel.  I did manage to finish draft 1, but after giving the first half of it to beta readers, I decided that one wasn’t working either and I never finished the second draft.

Then I started working on another Shara Summers book – this one with Shara investigating the case of the defenestrated rock star.  I have managed to get to the end of draft 2, and then I sent it out to beta readers.  Once more the message I’m getting back is that there is so much wrong with this book I should scrap it and start over with a new idea.

I’m also working on a new horror novel.  I am about a third of the way through draft 2 of this one. To be fair, I have not let anyone else read it yet, so I have had no third party comments. But as far as I’m concerned, it still needs a lot of work. So much so that I’m getting discouraged.

Now I’m getting quite depressed. What if my writing really is rubbish and I’m never going to write anything again of publishable quality? What if I’m deluding myself that I can write at all? It’s not as if my published books are selling in huge quantities. I’ve had some very nice comments from a few readers who have really enjoyed one or more of my books, and they’ve all had a handful of good reviews. But the vast majority of readers out there either don’t know about my books or don’t think they’re worth bothering with.

It’s times like this that I think no one who’s sane would choose to be a writer and put themselves through this heartache, and life would be a whole lot simpler if I could not be a writer anymore. The problem is, it’s not that simple. Writing is not something you can turn off when you get bored with it. And I also know that this the ‘down’ phase of the ups and downs of the writer’s life, and it will pass in time.

That doesn’t make me feel any better right now, though, when I just want to finish the damn book. Any damn book…

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