Battle The Voices of Doom….

18 May

Yesterday, I discovered my Harlequin NASCAR romance, DRIVEN (part of AT ANY COST) started shipping from Amazon.  It made my stomach flop over.  It is, officially, my second release, and it hasn’t gotten any less nerve-wracking. In fact, maybe it is MORE nervewracking because I’ve only seen one review so far (the Harlequin category lines are run a little different than a YA lineup– there were almost no Advance review copies…) so to have it just… hit shelves without any idea of what people think of it is, well, really scary.

There are many, many paths to publication, and everyone’s is different. But one thing is consistent: we all freak out. A lot.

When you’re ten pages into your first ever book, you’ll freak that it sucks and you dont know what you’re doing and you’ll never find enough time to write it all.

When you write THE END for the first time, you’ll stress that the whole thing is a mess.

When you query agents and get your first form rejection, you’ll freak that you suck and you’ll never find an agent.

When your first book hits shelves and its published by an awesome publisher and you have an awesome editor, you’ll still worry everything is a fluke and readers will hate you.

It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at– the feelings of suckitude remain consistent.

There ARE things you can do to help ignore the Voices-of-Doom.  Here are my tips:

1) Surround yourself with inspiration. I used to post quotes on a board above my computer. My favorite was, “Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”  I also posted my #1 writing rule: “Give yourself permission to write crap. Crap can be fixed.” Whenever I wanted to toss what I was writing, I just had to look up.

2) View it as a process. Remember that every book on shelves had a team of people helping it become what it is.  It went through revisions and copy edits and typsetting and yes, it’s very pretty, but it didn’t look like that when the author wrote it down.

3) Remember that NO book in the world is unversally loved and adored. Think about the last 5 books you read. Did you love and adore all 5? Probably not. But its a published book, so someone did. If you just got a rejection, it means that wasn’t the right reader for you. It’s okay to be rejected. Plenty of people love rocky road ice cream. I hate it. Does it mean it doesn’t have a place in the world? No.

4) Save praise; toss rejection. If your work is on fictionpress, and you’re getting reviews, move all the positive review alert emails into one folder. Delete the others. When you’re feeling down, open up that folder and read some of the good reviews.

5) Network. Commiserate. Misery loves company,  right? If you make friends with other writers, they will know exactly what you’re going through. They’ll talk you down off the ledge and push you in the right direction. I don’t know what I’d do without my writing friends!

6) Let yourself wallow…. but only for a little bit. It’s okay to take a day or a week or a month off. Sometimes you just need to live and let the stress evaporate on its own. Don’t burn yourself out because you think you have to have it now. Let yourself breathe and come back to your writing with fresh eyes and more energy. But don’t quit.

Anyway, I hope that helps… Happy Writing!

Mandy Hubbard

Author of Prada & Prejudice and At Any Cost

Agent, D4EO Literary

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14 Responses to “Battle The Voices of Doom….”

  1. Sarah J. Maas May 18, 2010 at 12:36 AM #

    AMAZING advice, Mandy! Definitely something I needed to hear right now! 🙂

  2. Ereza May 18, 2010 at 1:35 AM #

    I love your no. 1 writing rule, I probably need to stick that up in my room somehere lol

  3. Aurora Blackguard May 18, 2010 at 5:43 AM #

    To battle, voices-of-doom warriors! 😀

    Thanks for this, Mandy! This came pretty much right on time and it has stopped me from wanting to spontaneously combust every five minutes. Thanks!

    • mandyhubbard May 18, 2010 at 12:52 PM #

      So glad it was helpful, Aurora! Good luck on that whole not combusting thing. 😉

  4. Meagan Spooner May 18, 2010 at 7:40 AM #

    This is a fantastic post, and as it did for Aurora, it reached me at exactly the right time! I’ll be bookmarking this for future meltdowns. 😉

    Number 6 is the one I’ve been coming to terms with lately. I’ve gotten good at pulling myself out of the wallows by the shoelaces, but recently I’ve just realized that sometimes you have to let that happen for a little while, if only to let your brain throw its tantrum and get it out of its system.

    Thanks for the post!

    • mandyhubbard May 18, 2010 at 12:52 PM #

      YEP! Sometimes I just, don’t write for a few days or a couple of weeks. By the time I go back to it, I can focus again. 🙂

  5. Victoria Dixon May 18, 2010 at 7:48 AM #

    Thanks for the reminder, Mandy. I keep telling myself if this agent just requests the full ms, I’ll feel more confident. I’ll know I’m on the right track. Yeah, and then I’ll be a nervous henny penny for the next sixth months while he reads….

    I like the affirmation folder idea and I have one. I just don’t read it. Where did I put that thing? Hmmmm.

  6. Rowenna May 18, 2010 at 8:53 AM #

    Fantastic that your book is out! Congrats! I guess as an unpublished writer, it’s easy to forget that the doubts and nerves don’t go away just because you have a book on the shelves–thanks for that reminder.

    I love rule #1–I need to work on making my work area more of a nest for positive thinking. My grandfather was a writer and posted prayers and affirmations in his office–over his typewriter 🙂 which shows what timeless advice that is!

    And agreed on #5–which is why I say thanks again for your blog!

    • mandyhubbard May 18, 2010 at 12:53 PM #

      That’s so cool, on your grandfather and the typewriter! Some things never change, eh?

  7. Savannah J. Foley May 18, 2010 at 10:13 AM #

    Congrats on your release, Mandy!

    Gosh, that sounds like you were behind bars, lol!

    And thank you very much for this post. It’s great to see the perspective of a multi-pubbed author and realize that it’s how we claim our emotions TODAY that counts.

  8. Kat Zhang May 18, 2010 at 10:24 AM #

    Great post, Mandy! Your #1 writing rule is mine as well, and it has really gotten me through quite a few slumps. We all dream of publication, but it’s good to remember that the real love is for the writing process itself 🙂

  9. Julie Eshbaugh May 18, 2010 at 3:56 PM #

    Wow, Mandy, this was a VERY inspiring post. I’m printing out your #1 writing rule right now so I can hang it above my desk. 🙂

  10. Vanessa May 18, 2010 at 4:52 PM #

    Love this post Mandy!!! It makes me want to plop down and start writing! I guess sometimes all you need is a little pick-me-up! 😀 Your #1 rule is what I love to do; surround myself with inspiration!

  11. Myra May 18, 2010 at 6:38 PM #

    This is amazing advice, and like many other people, much needed at the moment. Number six rings especially true for me, with the writer’s burnout and the quitting. Ugh. I will persevere.

    Great article. 🙂

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