My publisher emailed me the other day to say that advance copies of book one of King Rolen’s Kin had arrived on his desk and they looked terrific. Now any normal person would be dancing on the ceiling with news like this. My first thought was -- Gosh, I’d love to see a copy.
My next thought was -- It is real now. What if no one buys the books?
So why are writers so insecure?
Well, we pour our hearts into our books, then send them out into the world to be savaged by reviewers and placed on a bookshelf where they may never be bought.
We have little or no control over what happens to our ‘babies’.
In the past, in professions where people had little control over things like fishermen at sea or actors on the stage, they tended to be very superstitious. Here’s some info on theatrical superstitions. And here’s some insights into fisherman superstitions. One belief not mentioned on this page was the idea that those persons born with a caul (part of the amniotic sack) over their face, could not drown. My grandfather was born with a caul over his face. His mother put the caul between pages of the family bible and by the time I saw it 80 years later, it had absorbed the printing from the bible. Very spooky. It was like very fine vellum, and you could see through it.
According to Nathan Bransford, if you lack confidence in your writing, it might not be a bad thing. He quotes the Dunning-Kruger effect.
‘The basic theory is that when people are incompetent at something they tend to lack the ability to realize it and they overrate their abilities relative to others. Meanwhile, people who actually are good at something tend to underrate their abilities and may as a result suffer from lack of confidence.’
Which doesn’t surprise me, because the more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know. Which might be why I feel insecure ...
Here is a post about The Five Habits of Highly Neurotic Authors. It has some practical suggestions.
Which brings me to … what do you do on those days when your doubt your writing ability?