There are jokes about the self-doubt that plagues writers. There’s more than a bit of truth to them though! I found myself in the middle of it once again last weekend. Going back and forth about whether to burn everything you’ve ever written and just give up on the whole writing thing is not exactly a fun way to spend your day.
It all came back to why I write stories in the first place. If I only wanted to get published and sell a lot of books, then I’d pick a genre other than science fiction. At the very least, I’d write YA dystopian science fiction, never mind that it’s not the type of thing I like to read. I write weird stuff. I write stuff that most people would have no interest in reading. So… why do I write it?
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I write the stories that I like to read. This is not to say that I’m unwilling to listen to advice and criticism when it comes to my writing. On the contrary, I value the feedback of people who are far more experienced than I am! I want to keep chipping away at and polishing my stories until they are the best that I can make them. Publishing is still definitely my big goal, but it’s not enough for me to publish just anything. I would not be happy publishing a book if it wasn’t the kind of story that I’d enjoy reading over and over.
Where does that leave me? Well, I’m going to keep writing, and I won’t be burning my notebooks anytime soon! I’ll keep working at making my stories better. I’ll keep writing the ones that I want to read. I’ve written a lot of stuff that will never see the light of day, and I’m sure I’ll write plenty of new things that no one but me will ever read. Maybe if I keep at it though, I’ll eventually end up with something that someone else might want to read too…