I don't like to admit it but the single biggest issue I have with writing is my last book.
When my book first started its journey into the shadowy world of editors, my enthusiasm for writing was high. I quickly wrote the first few chapters of the sequel book then dove into something new. But as the rejections started coming in, my elan faded and doubt took its place.
I have no doubts that I'm a good writer. I'm confident in my own abilities to realize my trouble isn't with the quality of my writing. Where my doubts come in is whether I write marketable stuff. We as writers sling around platitudes about writing what we love and what our heart dictates. I've followed a version of that theory in all my writing. But once the rejections started pouring in, well, maybe not pouring since my book has only been with a few editors, my attitude changed and not for the better.
No, it isn't any easier to anticipate the market from an editor's comments. They all have a different opinion as to why the book wasn't right for them. Obviously trying to gauge how well a book will do with this variety of opinions is nigh on impossible. I know this, but the doubts creep in.
I feel like I'm at the Hilary Step on Everest. The most challenging part of the climb is the summit ridge. All the really hard work has happened already, but I'm mentally worn out. I can see the sale, see the summit of my journey, but these last few obstacles are here. And I'm not sure how to face them or work with them. I have a well-regarded agent who knows her business and works hard for me. I don't want to waste this opportunity, I don't want to waste her time and mine by writing a book that isn't going to sell.
It crippled my writing. I kept flitting from project to project, starting and stopping because I wasn't confident that it was marketable. Talk about a maze with no end!
I can write about it now because I seem to have gotten over my hang up. I'm back to writing. I realized that I was thinking too much rather than letting my writing work itself out. I need to trust my instincts more rather than trying to think too hard. By worrying about what I think is going to sell, I lose the value of my writing. I suppress just the thing that attracted my agent in the first place. I'm back to writing and more importanly I'm enjoying it. One thing my agent said when she signed me is that she felt the fun in my writing. She had fun reading it and felt the fun I had writing it. So I guess that is the lesson I've learned. Go with instinct, it won't let you down.
Now I'm hoping my blogroll is back up. I sat down yesterday evening to catch up with everyone and the darn thing crashed and I don't have my links saved anywhere else.