Saturday, March 25, 2006

Self Doubt and why it's Good for writers

I read an interesting article about Patrick Viera this morning that got me thinking. Patrick is a football player (soccer to us Yanks) who has been playing since about 1996 with a top rate club in England, Arsenal. His coach wrote a book about him enetitled 'Viera'. I didn't read the book, but part of it is excerpted in the Guardian. Anyhow, his captain says this about him:

"The trophies Patrick won with France obviously gave him a lot of confidence. But he's a guy who always has self-doubts. I like the type of self-doubt he has because it produces some very positive questioning. It's not the sort that paralyses you during a game, instead it leads to a process of reflection which makes you self-critical. Patrick always analysed his performance with great lucidity."

That struck a chord with me, because so many writers doubt themselves. They are terribly insecure about their writing. I think it's important to take that self doubt and turn it into something positive. Instead of becoming insecure, a writer should try to become self critical and instead of letting the doubt paralyse you (I do this sometimes, I think 'this isn't right, I can't go on!') You should try, instead, to turn it into a constructive questioning session between you and your book.

Me: "Why am I stuck at this point?"
Book: "Either you have a problem with the character, or you're just being lazy. Try writing three more pages and see how that goes."
Me: "The character can't do what I need him to do.
Book: "Go back and make sure you've given him the ability. Maybe you left something out! Check!"
Me: "The plot is getting too complex, I'll never be able to keep all the thread untangled."
Book: "Either make an outline now and take care of all the plot lines, or get rid of the ones that don't forward the story. Is that plot about the race track helping or hindering? Look carefully and remember, 'when in doubt, leave it out!'"

So don't let doubt paralyse you. Try talking to the book and even with the characters (Jaci is a great one for doing this, lol) And listen to what they say!
Self doubt can be very positive if you ask the right questions!

OK - and now for somethign completely different......

The link of the day
Guerrilla Gardening
Check it out!


Gabriele C. said...

Dang plotlines. Don't get me started on them, lol. And things don't get any better since I now have three books loosely connected by setting, minor characters, cameos of major characters and shared sublots.

Weaving the Bayeux tapestry would be nothing compared to it. :)

Sam said...

Oh dear - I heard it took a hundred nuns to weave the bayeux tapestry (they did tend to exagerate in the Middle Ages though)
Do you have an outline?
(ducks and runs)

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, yes, I have outlines. I'm just rying to figure out how to best connect the three, and I'm glad that I have not progressed too far into the two first books to get into trouble now.

Gabriele C. said...

Do you have a typo demon living in your blog? Something ate a -t- in my last post.