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POINT OF VIEW: The Icky Part

J. Scott Coatsworth

Hey all,

I’m at that part of the story on “Lander” that I always hit, about this far in. I’m probably three quarters finished, and all I can see is suck and ick.

The writing sucks. The story is pedestrian. The threads of it are all over the place, and there’s NO WAY I am ever going to find a way to bring them altogether. It sucks. I suck. I am a horrible writer. Everyone’s going to find out. I will fail.

Instead, I just sit back and laugh.

You see, every one of us writers has this little internal critic. They’re worse than any real-world critic because they live inside your head, and they know every flaw, every self doubt, every button to push to make you crazy – to make you wish you’d never started this whole misguided writing thing in the first place. To make you want to never write again.

I’m lucky. My critic usually only surfaces when I am almost done with a project. And I have learned to just ignore him. So what if my first draft is shit? I’ll fix it in the second. So what if the plot seems all willy nilly now? I will find a way to bring them together, and their very willy nilliness means my audience will be on edge, wondering the same thing.

So what if I suck? Everybody sucks, sometimes. And I love writing.

So I laugh at him and then move on.

How do y’all deal with those times when you’re convinced you should never have picked up a pen? That maybe you should have been a dentist instead?

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