Best-selling thriller writer, Ian Rankin, has been writing professionally since the mid-1980s. He’s written close to 30 novels. He pretty much writes a book a year. But, at a certain point in his drafting process, usually somewhere at the end of the first month, he is struck by, what he calls, ‘the fear.’ He is convinced that all the work he’s done in that month has been a waste of time, that this new book won’t be any good.
When he mentions this to his wife, she usually asks, ‘Are you on page 65?’ He thinks about it, and yes, he is. It’s then he realizes that he goes through this phase with every novel, always at the same point. Always around page 65.
Many writers, if not all, experience this kind of doubt about their work at some stage. And, since writing is such a lonely profession, they don’t all have someone with whom they can share their frustrations.
I feel privileged, in my work as an editor, that authors confide their fears in me. Sometimes they just need someone who can give them feedback, someone with experience who can reassure them that their work is worth pursuing after all and they’re not wasting their time. Someone who can help them get past their page 65.
But not everyone has the time, the inclination, or, let’s face it, the money to seek reassurance from an editor. That doesn’t mean you have to suffer alone. Below are some techniques that can help authors deal with that inner critic and get back to writing. [Read more…]