It took me two years to write the rough draft of my first novel. Two long excruciating years. I doubted myself at every phase. I hated the way I opened the book. It was too clumsy and awkward. I was embarrassed about the middle. It was convoluted and wandered down too many dead ends. I cringed when I wrote the ending. It was completely cliché and way, way too obvious.
Writer’s Block, the Inner Critic, and Limiting Beliefs
Being a self-published author means that you get access to a host of services that aren’t available to you if you go the traditional route. Like checking your daily sales reports on Amazon. As a self-published author you can check in whenever you want to see how many books you sold that day. Consequently, some days are awesome. You sold a lot of books! And other days you feel disappointed or confused or just like plain crap. Your sales took a dive, or worse, you sold none at all.
In short, you get a free ticket for the approval vs. rejection rollercoaster and you can ride it as many times as you want. Sometimes the ride leaves you feeling exhilarated and sometimes you just feel sick and dizzy and question why you ever thought getting on the ride was a good idea at all.
The science of creativity is a big deal nowadays. We’re obsessed with the traits of genius, the ingredients that make up the gifted, innovator-type of mind. Persistence is the magic key, according to some. Others say it’s grit (which is really just persistence in a slightly different, more emotional, form). Or it’s intuition. It’s associative thinking. Habitual optimism. Productive habits already in place. Training yourself to get up at 4am every morning.
I read that statement and became instantly indignant. No, we do not! I spluttered inside my own head. Or at least, I don’t. That’s a bunch of bullshit! And then I caught myself. Wasn’t I, in fact, reacting with skepticism to this new idea that had just been dropped in my lap? Yes, I had to admit it. This new idea did not flatter me, and it did not paint the prospect of me being part of a reasonable species in a hopeful light. So, I didn’t like it. And my ego immediately set about finding ways and means to shut it down, freeze it out, and bury it so deep I would forget that stupid old idea had ever even existed.
I have a very good friend who is 83 years old. We hang out together on Saturday mornings mostly, and talk about politics and history while he tells me various stories from his long and colorful life. Usually when I tell people the age of my friend they assume he has trouble getting around, or that maybe he’s in a wheelchair or has difficulty remembering details. But nothing could be further from the truth.