Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

08 August 2010

When the Doubts Come Marching In...

There are times when I read other folks'  blogs and musings when I feel like a complete idiot.

Now, I don't mean that I didn't understand what they were saying (although that has happened also). I often feel guilty after reading another author's blog. I get a sense that maybe I absolutely have no notion of what the hell I'm doing as a writer. Outline?  Uh, no. Charts of each character's backstory and plotline? That would be a no, again.

I'm becoming rather intimidated by all the stuff "they" say I need to be doing.

Storytelling enthralls me. Weaving a story from beginning, middle, and end is like a good hike. It should climb with unexpected twists, open out into grand vistas, and reach a height to take your breath away. I don't want to walk sedately along a paved path with measured steps and guard rails. Half the fun should be discovery - something you never expected jumps out at you from the shrubbery, whether it's one of your characters refusing to do what you wanted her to, or a location's hidden nugget of treasure.

But then I wonder, am I doing it all wrong? After all, these are authors with thirty or more books on various bookshelves. Surely they have the answers, the keys to the kingdoms of B&N and Borders?  Some of them expound on intense academic discussions of the writing process. Should I be inspecting my method more deeply to ensure my product would meet any such scrutiny?

When the doubts come marching in, I question everything I've learned and wonder, "Am I good enough?"

So I worry and fret for a night or six. Am I the worst ever?  How did (insert blah author name here) ever get published when their book is so boringly bad? So-and-so's latest reads so much like their last three that one can predict the page on which the damsel will become distressed. Do I really have to write according to those rules?

I am self-taught in many things. I never took a creative writing course in college. Never touched a computer in college,  for that matter. (Yes I am that old, but I was on the cusp, okay?)  I have learned on the go by trying and failing and laughing and trying and failing and trying again. I can write HTML code, manipulate photos for book covers, and convert my keyboard to write with the Spanish alphabet. No one knew how this Internet thing would turn out when it started, and I don't think anyone has a real grip on where it's going even now. So blogging, networking, and marketing are all up for learning on the fly, right?

I don't like formulas. To be honest, I struggled with Chemistry and Calculus. I don't follow recipes to the letter and  never measure when I cook.  OnStar/Garmin/MapQuest? Pah! Maps are for wimps. Yeah, I get lost on occasion, but as Robert Frost once put it, "The road less traveled is what has made all the difference." I often told my son when we took mistaken turns on road trips that we were on a "Grand Adventure."

Shouldn't writing - the process as well as the result - be one as well?

When the doubts come marching in, I do try to listen and glean  knowledge  - and eventually let them move on down the street.

I can take what I've learned to dance in my own parade like a Nawlins-style funeral. Pass me that parasol, honey...

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