Writing Journal Y3 Day 189

I_ClaudiusFuck it all I’m in a pissy mood.

In the BBC production of I, Claudius, the title character has a moment where he says something along the lines of, “Let all the poisons, that lurk in the mud, hatch out.”  Now, Claudius wasn’t talking about the self-doubt we all have and that writers can sometimes take to extremes, but I felt it was a good fit for my mood.

You write something – no, check that.  I write something, and then I walk away, and all the shit starts to seep out from the dark.  The self doubt.  The worry.  The second guessing.  I start to think, “What the fuck have I done?”  And I don’t have Bones at my side to say, “What you had to do, what you always do, turn death into a fighting chance to live.”  And let’s face it, if that happened, I’d probably shit myself anyway cuz DeForest is no longer with us…  but I digress…

I write a story, and then I fret over it.  I let people read it, and they tell me:

  1. It’s great!
  2. It’s good!
  3. It’s okay.
  4. It sucks.
  5. You wrote this? You? I would’ve thought a child with a crayon sprawled it on a wall somewhere.
  6. Why did you write this piece of shit?  Did you want to waste my time?

Okay, so maybe not #5.  Or #6.  But I don’t know.  Not everyone tells me what they think.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  I don’t know.

Right now I’m going through this with the epic fantasy.  Specifically, my brain is spitting out things like:

  • Is it too old school?
  • Is it stupid?
  • Are you stupid?
  • Is it not different enough? (Cuz everything has to be different or a copy of something different, right?)
  • Is the ending stupid?
  • Are the characters stupid?
  • Is the plot stupid?

Stupid seems to be a theme.  At my writers group this past weekend, the room was split in half; 50% liked it, 50% had some major issues.  Worse, a lot of their issues have been my issues.  So does that mean it’s time to trunk it?  Great question!  Wish I knew the answer.


Every writer goes through this.  I know that.  Knowing doesn’t make it any easier.  You would think that knowing would somehow mitigate the whole god damned thing, but it doesn’t.  I still have to go through it and come out the other side.

What’s on the other side?

Well, you can:

  • Identify that there are, in fact, problems with the book/story, and then fix them
  • Identify that there are, in fact, problems with the book/story, and don’t fix them / trunk it
  • Decide it’s all in your head and move forward
  • Take up drinking (can be combined with any of the above options)
  • Build a mountain top secret lair from which to launch your take over of the world

As you can see, lots of options.  But I have to work my way through to one of them…