It's another first Wednesday, so time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! This month, I've been thinking about the importance of enjoying the writing journey.
In a lot of ways, I have a lot to be grateful about in my writing journey. In the last four months, I signed with an agent and sold my debut novel (The Blood Rose Rebellion, due out in 2016 from Knopf). I signed my contract last week!
These are milestones I worked a long time for, and I'm thrilled to have reached them.
Something funny happened around the time I signed my agent. I'd looked forward to that moment for so long, I think I had it in my head that I'd be happy as a writer when that happened--that I'd feel validated, that I'd stop worrying if my writing was good enough.
Guess what? That didn't happen. Sure, I rode a euphoric high--for about three days. Then, suddenly it was that elusive book deal that I needed to confirm my happiness and give me confidence.
But even that didn't prove entirely true. Selling a book opened up a whole new realm of worries. (How can I help market this thing? What if readers hate it? What if I don't sell out my advance?) I still struggle to sit down and write. I still write words and re-read them and think, "this is terrible. I'm a fraud." And I half-expect someone to come by and revoke my contract.
The truth that I'm slowly discovering is this: you have to write because somehow the writing itself satisfies you. If you write for any other reason (to sell a book, to hit a best-seller list), it will never be enough, because there's always some elusive goal beyond the one you've just hit.
You have to believe in yourself (or at the least, believe in your close friends' and critique partners' assessment of yourself on days when your own belief flags), because there will always be external forces that both love and hate you. And no outside approval will make up for your own failure to believe in your gifts.
In the meantime, I'm still here--and still writing.