Thursday, December 24, 2009

Drawing the Line

As a writer, where is the line between self-confidence and self-delusion?

We must have some confidence in our work.  If we don't, why should anyone else?  If we want to be published, we need to "sell" it to an agent, a publisher, and ultimately the public.

Feedback shouldn't necessarily lead directly to changes (see previous post).  Sometimes we need to stand by what we wrote and the way we wrote it.  Sometimes we won't take a suggestion, but it leads us to another idea that we run with.  All good things.

When do we cross that line to thinking our book is the best ever, and nothing anyone says gets through our thick skull?

How much harder is it to be realistic when much of your feedback comes from people with ulterior motives?  Maybe other authors who want to engage in mutual back-scratching.  Maybe friends and family who see everything you do through those wretched pink spectacles.  (Note the sorry attempt at avoiding clich√©.)

If we refuse to believe it when someone tells us our book needs major work, will we ever get the message?  Won't agents hit Auto-Reject, and we'll never know why?  What will it do to us to spend years failing to publish the greatest masterpiece of all time?

Where do we find the balance between humility and confidence?

(I think it's safe to say the balance is way off when one refers to their novel using a gender-specific pronoun.)

What do we do when our own blindness is the cause of our failure?

POD, I guess.


Robb said...

That's always the catch, isn't it? Best solution I've found is a small circle of trusted writers/readers who will tell you the truth, good and bad.

R.C. Lewis said...

If only the person I have in mind were open to hearing the truth. *sigh* Not everyone wants to be helped.

Robb said...

It's very hard to crush someone's dreams and tell them they just don't have it. I don't ever want to do that. Then I think, what if everyone is just being polite to me? There's a fine line between offering helpful, constructive advice and critique and telling someone they suck and should give it up.

R.C. Lewis said...

Very true, Robb. I try to focus on what needs fixing, operating under the assumption that it CAN be fixed. I like to think that keeps me in the "optimistic and helpful" camp, rather than the "dream-crushers." I appreciate it when others do the same for me.

Ilyria Moon said...

Gosh, sometimes we have to make changes for the 'greater good'. However, I have to admit I lean towards delusion in all areas of my life.