I have heard it said – and I have tried in vain to find a quote – that writers are neurotic. That, in order to be a writer, you have to be a little bit unhinged. Writers are full of self-doubt, spend lots of time trying to find fault – and fixing – the work they have so painstakingly put together and are at the mercies of publishers, readers and critics.
The last few weeks I have really truly felt like a writer. I have abandoned my book out of sheer self-loathing and self-doubt, only to pick it up a week later full of optimism and feeling that it is not such rot after all. Writing, and especially editing, a book combined with a full time job and raising two young boys has sapped the life out of me. Some days I feel on top of the world, so happy to be working with words again. But most days, when I fall down on the couch out of sheer exhaustion, I wonder whether it is all worth it. My book will never be published, it is not even the genre I would like to write more about and who am I kidding? I have had to cut and suggest rewrites for so many passages of my book that when I finally do get to make my edits on the computer, it will be an entirely different book. Better, maybe, but it is sometimes overwhelmingly disheartening to see how bad my first draft is. Although I plotted extensively, there is still a LOT I got wrong, making me wonder what on earth I was thinking in the first place, so full of confidence I could write a book. It is true that editing is the hard part of the job. It definitely is where you feel like a failure as a writer, time and time again. I just have to find the confidence, and the energy, again to continue to make my book better so that eventually I can actually be proud of it.