Confidence! Doubt. Confidence! Doubt. Confidence! Doubt. Confidence! Doubt. Confidence! Doubt. Confidence! Doubt. Confidence! Doubt. Confidence! Doubt.
I keep wavering between these two emotions.
Actually, I want to tell you about the day I turned in my big revision for 17 & GONE. I’d been working feverishly for weeks. No exaggeration. It had gotten beyond normal writing and revising sessions and I’d had to hole myself up and ignore many more practical things and avoid my friends and sometimes close myself up in the dark writing corner of the apartment in silence with the lights off and type and type and type and type. The blog series was something I’d committed to, and I had to stop to prep the posts and automate the tweets, but if it wasn’t for saying I would do that, I would have disappeared entirely. I wrote with every part of me. I dug so deep and tried so hard. And I finished this round of revision knowing—because I am practical and I’ve done this before—that there will be more to this. My work on this novel isn’t over. And yet, I finished such a monumental revision in terms of new pages written and I felt…
SO FREAKING GOOD YOU HAVE NO IDEA.
I felt delicious. I felt stunning. I felt like a glowing, sparkling beautiful version of myself who’d written something worthy of being a book.
This awesome feeling lasted… I guess about three hours.
Those three hours were probably the best day I had so far this year. If I could have captured my confidence in a box like a butterfly imprisoned between two panes of glass, I would have. (Even though, cruelly, a butterfly in glass is dead, and my captured confidence would have been dead, too.) My revision was now out of my hands and I was proud of it. I loved the book. I knew the book is weird and not for everyone and not a big commercial book that would launch my career or anything. But it was mine. It was all mine. I’d written solely and completely what I’d wanted to write, and the pleasure in knowing this was exhilarating.
Confidence! I sure had it… for those three hours.
Then I came down, as all highs do. And I crashed. And the doubts set in. And I imagined all the things wrong with it and wrong with me—and what future reviewers and readers and bloggers and list-makers would say. And I thought of how weird they’ll all think I am. And I thought of the future. And I thought of sales. And I thought of chirping crickets. And I went to the dark place many of us authors know (I know they know because they email me; I know they know because I can’t be alone in this, can I?) and I thought bad things and all the sparkles dissipated and all that was left from my three wonderful hours of being proud of what I’d done was…
Well, me. And a ton of pages I’ll surely have to revise again.
And so. Thus concludes this week’s emotional rollercoaster of being a writer. Fun.
Still, those three confident hours were wonderful while they lasted. Even if they were an illusion, it felt nice and fluffy living in it for a small while.