Once again, it is the first Wednesday of the month, so it's time for all Insecure Writers to stand up and be counted. There are some great bloggers participating in this monthly blog hop so it's worth popping over to Alex's blog and having a browse :)
Today I want to talk about making myself jump through hoops. 'Jumping through hoops' is a phrase we hear a lot as writers - agents with stringent submission requirements are 'making us jump through hoops', publishers that won't accept unagented submissions are 'just giving us an extra hoop to jump through.' One of the most common arguments in favour of self-publishing over traditional is simply that - 'I don't want to jump through any more freaking hoops!'
But I am a pessimist, a hypochondriac, and above all, I am an insecure writer. I like hoops.
I have blogged before about my terror of succeeding, so I'm sure you all know that you are not dealing with a sane person here.
I am not a person who trusts myself. I don't think I'm a good driver. I don't think I'm a good cook. I am convinced I will be the first person in the world who gives her family salmonella from undercooked scones.
So how does this manifest in my writing?
When I seriously started writing again after a few years of, well, not, I told myself I wouldn't query until I had written two books. My first novel was a deeply personal one, and I was scared I only had one book in me. But if I'd done it twice, I thought, I could confidently sign a contract for more than one book and trust myself to honour it.
It was a good idea. I have never queried my first novel, as it isn't strong enough, but last year's sketchy Nanowrimo idea has turned into a proper novel that I intend querying, and I trust myself to keep coming up with ideas. Now that I'm looking for them, I'm finding them.
If I hadn't given myself that space, that two-book window to learn about myself, I would have been desperately querying a substandard novel and sitting up all night chewing my fingernails and worrying about honouring a contract that I had not yet signed. (Like Charlie Brown, I am trying to only dread one day at a time).
Someone probably does need to sit me down and assure me that scones won't cause salmonella. But making myself jump through a hoop before I considered querying worked for me.
There are times when you need to learn to trust yourself.
Just hope you have a sympathetic friend who'll tell you when you're not growing anymore and you're just letting the fear win :)