Yet another of the myths I believed before I began to write was that authors just KNEW when their writing was good or bad. They would delete the drek and save all the great parts (if they were even having so off a day that they produced drek) and would merrily get on with their fantastic story.
Yah – not so much.
When I wrote my first story, I reached a point where I was sure that I could not be a writer, this whole story sucked from start to finish and I should do the world a favor and burn it. I’m stubborn, though, and several friends I trusted read it and reassured me that it was actually pretty damned good. With some hand-holding, some kicks in the ass and some stubborn determination, I finished that story.
And, you know, when I read it over – it was pretty good!
My poor naive self thought this was it. Now that I knew I could write, I would just write merrily along and my confidence would let me know when something was good or not.
I was wrong, it happened with the next story too.
I learned, after talking to numerous other authors, that I was not alone. Most other authors go through a time that they think the current project may just be the worst thing they’ve ever written. They’ve fought the urge to delete the file, start over, even not write for a while. But, like me, they kept going anyway.
Now I call these “Intermittent Bouts of Suckitis” – a phrase I was told by the marvelous Morgan Hawke (cue fan girl moment). I can be certain that, in the process of writing every single story, I will experience at least one bout of suck-itis. It happens when I’m about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the story, like clockwork, and I still fall into doubt. Every single story.
At least now I’ve learned to stop and send it to my trusted friends and test readers and ask them what they think. So far I have never had to give up on a story though I have made revisions and changes to allow me to continue in a better vein.
These “Bouts of Suckitis” seem to be almost universal. I wish I’d known that when I started writing.