Falling on the Sword or A Black Swan Experience

Confusion Meter

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you ever feel downright stupid?

The past few days of editing pushed me to the point of thinking I’m out of my league. Blog posts by fellow writers made me question things and I started marking my WIP in ways I hadn’t considered before. I even did internet searches on using pronouns.

I questioned myself about dialogue. I pulled writing books from the shelf and browsed. I searched for things to be wrong in my work. What came over me?

At one point, shock overtook me as I looked at a scene. Whole sentences were crossed out and arrows directed me to rearrange elements. Really out of hand things, overkill.

I thought, why am I doubting myself?

Veronica Roth to the rescue!

I grabbed my copy of Divergent by Roth and read a couple pages. All the things I planned to change about my work stared back at me. When did I start striving for perfection to the point of questioning the fundamentals of writing? It was a Black Swan experience.

Sure, things need edited, rewritten. The creative process requires revision. The second draft had been a joyful experience until the past few days; I’m unsure what pushed me off track. It’s like being severely depressed then getting the right meds. You are amazed at how “out there” you were. A sobering realization to say the least.

My goal now is to remember the basics and trust in them. Everything else will fall into place.

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.” Robert Cormier

  • I can so identify with all you are going through. No worries it will all get done. Don’t let the doubt get a foothold!

    • M. Frye

      Elena, I’m feeling much better about things today. That could be because I haven’t worked on my WIP today. After revisiting Veronica Roth’s writing I came to my senses. Things will go smoother for a while.

  • Hang in there Missy.
    Love the post. You describe our angst so well.

    • M. Frye

      Thanks, Jo-Ann! I just wish we didn’t have the angst in the first place. *sigh*

  • Missy, I think we all suffer from these panic attacks and start questioning our work. In times like these, it’s best to walk away for a day or two and then see if you feel the same way about a scene.

    Good luck with your editing!

    • M. Frye

      Debra, thanks for the encouragement. I had taken a few days to be with a relative who suffered from a major illness. It’s when I returned to editing that I freaked.

      Just a weird experience all around.