Turns out I'm not alone. In her blog yesterday, agent Rachelle Gardner called it the gift of insecurity:
"It turns out being a contracted and published author doesn't automatically fill you with self-confidence and unending affection for your own work. Who knew?"Well, I did. But I still don't like it.
Before Casting the First Stone came out last January, I wrote two books that were contracted and published by the educational market. I also wrote lots of articles, some of which got accepted for publication and some of which did not, and a middle grade novel that I rewrote so many times to please the tastes of so many other people that not only did it not get accepted anywhere, but I no longer recognize it. Right now, it's my first novel -- the one that sits in a drawer and may never see the light of day again. Most serious authors (at least the ones I know) have at least one of these. It's the book that proved to us we could write a book, and that may be all it ever is.
But I loved that book. Still do -- just not in its current incarnation. And so one day, I may revisit it and see if I can still find the glimmer of gold anywhere in its pages. If I do, and I can, I will build on it. And I do, and I can't, I will leave it in the drawer.
Which is what will happen to those pages from yesterday as well. Later today, or perhaps tomorrow, I will go back to them. I'll re-read them to find the words that are worth keeping and I will build on those. The rest I will attempt to mercilessly discard because I've learned that failing to do so now only means I'll have to do so later.
Rachelle Gardner is right in calling this insecurity a gift. As long as we don't let it hobble us and keep us from putting words on the page, it's the thing that keeps us from letting one success go to our heads:
"…it's that very insecurity that will drive you to keep growing, keep learning, be the best you can be…."So as it turns out (by extrapolation), yesterday's less-than-stellar words were a gift. I'll try to remember that as I rip them apart later on today.
Word Count Wednesday: 6218 :-)