Friday, January 28, 2011


I just got a very humbling email from my critique partner. God bless her, she was quite honest about the amount of work that I need to do. I'm not being sarcastic here, I truly appreciate her bluntness. It was what I needed to hear. Definitely not what I wanted to hear, but what I needed nonetheless. And I can't imagine that's an easy crit to write, so props to her for doing it.

I'm not going to lie, I feel pretty shattered. I'm sitting here right now thinking that writing just may not be my thing. Kind of like how I enjoy baking, but my cakes aren't that pretty to look at. Or how I can coordinate an outfit, but I'd never be hired as a wardrobe coordinator. And that's cool. Sometimes you like doing things and you're okay at them, but you're not that great and you need to accept that. I mean, it mostly breaks my heart to write that, but truth is truth. Right?

Funny thing is, the novel I sent her is about a girl who, when presented with a challenge, when things don't go as hoped or planned, assumes it wasn't meant to be and moves on. She doesn't see that she's cheating herself. She's missing the opportunity to achieve something through adversity and hard work. And we all know, those successes are the most meaningful.

So I'm probably going to drink myself silly tonight. And I'm probably going to wake up tomorrow wanting to die. And then I'm probably going to eat something greasy, go for a run, then figure out how I need to tackle my plot problems. Maybe I'm not meant to be a writer. Maybe. Maybe I'll never have an agent,be published, see my words printed on anything other than my own printer paper. Okay. But that will be the case after I've done my best. Not just gave it a go, but really busted my bottom to write some kick-ass novels. Because I'd hate to think that I missed out on my chance to better myself because I quit too soon.


  1. This is right on, Kate. I've often taken this exact step back and questioned if I have what it takes.

    I'm not sure that I do, but like you, I'm not going to give up. My best work is still to come.

    From what I know about you, you have a voice and a tenacity I envy.

    Keep that in mind while you drink yourself silly.

  2. I totally hear what you're saying. But it sounds like you have some good perspective on the whole matter. I've never met or talked to or heard of a writer who didn't have self-doubt about their abilities at some point in their writing life. It seems like it's par for the course in this field. I think as long as you're writing the stories that you have to tell and that only you can tell, you'll find fulfillment and validation as a writer.

    Keep at it-- doubt is part of the game. I think your approach is inspirational to other writers, because this would be the point where many people would throw in the towel. Good for you :)

  3. Well, this gal here definitely doesn't think you should quit. Not at all. Some things are hard to learn, and take many books to practice (nine, *ahem*). You've got a voice and -- clearly -- stories to tell.

    I'm rooting for you, and here if you need me.

  4. Girls, your comments are a testimony to the inherent goodness of people.

    Harley May- I didn't drink nearly as much as I used to be able to, causing me to also question my competence as an alcoholic. I will, however, prevail in that arena as well. It's about the work and the positive attitude, right? Maybe Donald Maass wrote a book on drinking...

    Kristin- Thank you. I wish we, as writers, would talk about it (the doubt) more. I mean, I get annoyed with the "I quit" updates I sometimes see on Twitter, but my heart breaks right along with the writers who question themselves. Writing isn't like math- there's no concrete answer- it's so subjective, and it's so emotionally vulnerable. I feel sadness when I see writers prefacing their discouraged posts with an apology. Or are embarrassed. I honestly believe, like you said, that everyone has these moments. Too bad we pretend at confidence because we're afraid to show weakness. That kind of an admission humanizes us.

    Weronika- Thank you. Really, thank you. I'm going to be fine. I think I just needed a day of indulgent self-pity and a day off in order to get my head straight. And now, *she leans in and whispers*, I have plans.