And Now, a Word from the Crushing Sense of Inferiority

I’m at the point where I’m 1/2-way through this damned novel, and suddenly I’m paralyzed. I feel like it’s utter shit, and I can’t make any headway because I have no faith in my ability as a writer. I am, at this moment, convinced that I’m going to spend the next forty years as a second-string English teacher and a failed writer.

And I look at my last post, and I know it’s true, but I’m not sure I’ve got enough strength in me right now to kick that asshole in the teeth.  I mean, I’m doing it–I’m even sitting here writing–but this shit is SO BAD.

Good thing I have permission to write badly, I suppose.  But I’m starting to think this novel is destined for the trunk.  I guess that might not be a bad thing if I learn something from it.  And one never knows, I suppose.

Anyway.  Enough self flagellation; back to work.

Edit: I just went back and read over my entries from VP, because I thought it might work as an ego boost.  And I was reminded of the specifics of what Jim MacDonald said to me (I really should write that down somewhere in case I ever actually forget, though I probably won’t).  And that seems to have banished the self-doubt, though it hasn’t done much for the fried synapses not coming up with anything new.

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About Michael Johnston

Father of a third grader, high school English teacher, writer. Forty-three years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA
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4 Responses to And Now, a Word from the Crushing Sense of Inferiority

  1. blair says:

    Middle of the novel = right on schedule for surging doubts and anticipation of utter failure.

    That’s not meant to be a flippant dismissal of what you’re feeling. It’s fellow-feel. Sometime I’ll tell you the story of me driving home from my first writing workshop sobbing “I SUUUUUCK!” at the top of my lungs. 🙂

  2. You’re right, of course. One of my VP17 cohorts reminded me of that, what Jim Butcher calls the Big Swampy Middle. Realizing that’s what I’m facing made me galvanize myself. Also some other stuff I’ll write about when I’ve got a few minutes. Right now I have to go herd cats teach. Be well, and may your words flow.

  3. I hear this. I’m taking a–small!–break from writing in part because I lost a lot of faith in myself with my recent rejections. I realized that for a long time I had been nursing this hope that the last novel would be salable, and I’m beginning to discover it’s probably not. And it inspires this sense of…. sure, maybe I can do this, but how long will it take? Can I be happy being a front-end web developer who occasionally writes–for the rest of my life?

    I don’t know the answer yet. But I feel where you are 🙂

  4. “And it inspires this sense of…. sure, maybe I can do this, but how long will it take? Can I be happy being a front-end web developer who occasionally writes–for the rest of my life?”

    Yes. That’s it, exactly, and why I’m feeling so down lately. I keep wondering if I can manage to be a teacher who writes. I mean, if I could sell regularly, even if I couldn’t make a living at it, OK, sure. But without selling anything, it starts to feel like a pipe dream.

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