Happens every time…

Never fails. Never.

I hit the publish button. I watch the upload. I read the newly posted item. I freak out.

It’s not as good as I though. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know why it is, but no matter how I’ve polished it, no matter how awesome it felt when I did it the first time, I can’t see the piece I thought was great a few hours prior. All I see is the amateurish work of a second-rate hack. It’s not as good as this guy’s stuff, or that girl’s piece, or those over there. Mine stinks. STINKS.

It happens every time I put something on the Internet. Every time.

It’s odd to me that this didn’t happen when I submitted the non-fiction book I finished recently. For whatever reason, I never felt compelled to go back and re-read it, or to second guess myself on it. It went out, stayed out and when I did the proofs I didn’t feel anything for the piece at all. It was just … there.

Whenever I write fiction, though, I’m cocky as hell until I see it on the screen after being published. Then I’m an insecure, needy little whelp who wants to play with the grown-up writers. I feel like a kid in a grown-up conversation. I feel stupid and inferior.

Every time.

I’m sort of sick of it. Okay, I’m really sick of it. Why is it happening? Why does the piece look so different to me after publishing it? And Lord help me, if I’m this bad about putting something up on the Internet, how will I be when it’s time to seek representation or be published?

How about you? Do any of you experience anything similar in an area of import to you as a person? as an artist or musician or writer or whatever?


All original content copyright 2010 DarcKnyt


8 thoughts on “Happens every time…

  1. Oh, I feel that way. Recently though, like the last year, I’ve found a way to let those feelings go. I guess I’ve just had enough years of feeling insecure to know it’s going to happen every time, so the feelings are not a surprise. I got to this place where I’m pretty sure I suck, and it doesn’t matter. I tried to quit writing and couldn’t, so I guess I’m stuck with it, sucky or not.

    Yeah, I know how you feel. I’ve tried everything I can think of to improve, but there’s only so much I can do with the talent pool in my make-up, y’know? So whatever the level of achievement is, or gets to be, I guess that’s what it will be and I have to live with that. It’s tough for me because I’m a person who wants to be the BEST of EVERYTHING I do, and if I can’t then I don’t want to do it. Does that make sense? If I can’t be the world’s best at it I don’t want to try. Writing is the first thing I’ve encountered where I can live with knowing someone’s probably going to be better than me at it, but I can still be awesome. Problem is, I don’t FEEL awesome.

    For our type, the work is never as bad as we think it is. Now some others who can’t see their own suckishness have all the confidence in the world and need to come down a couple of notches. Us, though? We need to assume better.

    I know, whattup with the BAD writers being all cocky and arrogant? AND some of them I’ve seen having that pay off? How many times have I blasted a book because it stunk but was on the shelves anyway? I don’t get it. Meanwhile, we languish in slush. (Well … you do. I’m still trying to have a manuscript. Eh.) And I think you’re right; I need to assume I’m better than I feel.

    …But when I see it, read it, onscreen? It’s not as good as I thought. What do I do with THAT, sweetie?

    • Ignore it. 🙂

      Best advice ever, pro’ly. 😀

      And what’s up with mine being the only comment? It’s been slow on the webz today.

      I LIKE your comment. If there had to be just one, I’m glad it’s yours. 🙂

      It’s not just today for me either. I’ve been convinced I’ve laid an egg a couple of days in a row now, where no one’s commented. Not only do I feel bad about my fiction, I’m starting to feel like a sucky blogger too! ACK!

  2. I have panic attacks every time I think about people reading my work. I’ll be in the car and overwhelmed with the need to race home and delete everything. Fiction is more personal than non-fiction. Non-fiction is facts. Information. It is different. I have no problem at all standing in front of a classroom filled with students. Easy. Standing in front of people to read my work or talk about my art–terrifying.

    Maybe that’s it. There’s nothing of me, of my “skill level”, in the non-fiction. It’s just retelling facts or events or relaying instructions. Meh, who cares? But the fiction is part of who I am and reflects on my ability as a writer. I guess. I’m NOT like you in being able to stand in front of people and speak though! Woo! I’d be nervous and boring!

    But I think of the alternative–doing nothing. I don’t want 20 years to pass and for me to say I didn’t try. I chickened out. I want my son to face his his fears too. I’ve got to set the example, right?

    That’s how I feel too. I can’t bitch about being a failure if I never try to make something happen. It’s no one’s fault but mine if I don’t try and my life ends this way.

    I don’t know what to tell you, but you aren’t anywhere close to as awful as you think, and nothing is perfect. As someone once said to me, you have this idea in your head (your goal, your image, whatever you want to call it) of what you want to write, and it will never be what you have in your head. Ever. Like art. Nothing I draw is ever what I have in my head. And that gap will drive you mad.

    Thank you. You’re very kind and I appreciate the support. And it means a lot coming from someone who’s as capable as you are. I like that gap explanation too.

    It can also spur you to do better. Try harder. Learn. Keep going.

    I try to make it do that. It’s not always easy and some days I just want to quit. But for the most part, it pushes me.

    Hope you’re doing well with your challenge.

  3. The non-fiction is easier because it is what it is. Fiction is a part of you.

    Seems many folks see this. I don’t know why I didn’t until it was pointed out to me.

    I don’t even make it to internet publishing. I write a bit then think, “This is crap. Who would want to read this?” And that’s the end of it.

    Hehehe! Give the world a chance, Holls! You’re talented, if pressed for time!

  4. Some people are just born/brought up with the confidence to do something think “this is incredible”, walk away, and be done with it. Other’s aren’t.

    Yeesh, and if I can’t be confident about this, then I can’t be confident about ANYthing, I guarantee it. 😦

    I’m always second guessing the work I do. I gave my assistant manager that jar, and she loved it. I was stoked to give it to her, and freaking out with excitement because I was so happy about how it turned out. Then after wrapping it up, and jumping in the car… the anxiety, and panic set in, and I began wishing I weren’t broke so I could quickly run to the mall and pick something else up, or I had an excuse not to give it to her.

    I think it’s the fear of not knowing how someone else will react to something you’ve put so much effort into, and were so happy with (the happiness fades once the fear sets in). Then worrying about the rejection if they don’t love/like it, and not feeling validated for your efforts… so to speak.

    Maybe that’s all it is, just … fear of rejection. Or fear of not being the dead-level best EVER. If someone comes along as is (in my perception at least) as good or better than I am, I shrivel like a raisin and have green-eyed monster fits of jealous rage in the corner. (Well … maybe not.)

    You’re a great writer, and you should trust that you are. Hitting “publish” or “send” is hard (I know I’ve sat starring at emails for almost an hour before finally being done with it), and sometimes feedback won’t always be terrific, because some people are just nit-picks, who look for the bad in everything.

    Ignore those.

    Good advice. 🙂

    Take the constructive, and the positive, and be even more awesome.

    🙂 Thanks for the vote of confidence, sweetie.

  5. I used to be nervous about posting my fiction (or just having people read it), until I really accepted/embraced the fact that I’m a mediocre writer that’s (hopefully) learning and getting better all the time.

    Well, I hope I’m more than mediocre, but I do feel I’m learning and growing and (hopefully) getting better. But I still get remorse the moment I hit that Publish button.

  6. I don’t think a writer ever loses that little bit of doubt that what they’ve written is drivel. 🙂 I’m newly published and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wondered if people will think I’ve written a trailer load of rubbish. I believe that little bit of doubt is what drives us to continue learning and working towards being better writers.

    Joy, thank you so much for coming by and sounding off on a subject with which you have experience. I’m very grateful to hear from you. Congratulations on being published! A major accomplishment, and one which wouldn’t have been possible if you only wrote trailers of rubbish. 😉 Please do feel free to come back around and tell us about your journey from writer to author anytime, and tell us about your novel too!

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