Today’s Writing Demons

Last time I talked about how the cover art I want to use for my novel is keeping me from leaping wholeheartedly into shopping it around once it’s done. Today I’m fighting different demons.

I’ve got a couple of short stories written (or at least drafted) about what it’s like to be a dryad in the world I’m building. I even quite like them. Before the demons popped up uninvited, I’d been thinking maybe it would be a good idea to try submitting a short story or two to some reputable sff magazines, just to test the waters. It would be good for me to start getting my work out there, get used to rejection, and maybe even get a little feedback. And, on the super-outside chance someone actually published me, it would look great on my artist’s résumé!

Then the latest demons materialized to torment me.

“Of course you like them; you wrote them!”
“You realize, of course, that compared to a real author’s work, your stories are complete crap, right?”
“No one is ever going to publish that schlock, so why are you even trying?”

~sigh~ Frankly, I’m tired of these little shits. I’ve had to listen to them for years; they convinced me not to bother even trying to write fiction for longer than I care to consider.

Eventually I found a way to sneak past them for my non-fiction work, and started blogging about my thoughts on my favorite TV show. I told them, “I’m not doing it for an audience; I’m just writing for me.” That seemed to work, and—miracle of miracles—a small but loyal audience eventually followed. So I kept writing. And kept considering dabbling in fiction.

Ultimately, the urge became too strong to ignore; I had to make an attempt at this novel. That’s when I found a magic spell to get them to shut up for a whole month, while I pounded out a really horrible rough draft. “That’s awful!” they’d shriek. “I know! Isn’t it glorious?” I’d reply with a grin.

It felt like a victory—and in its way, it was. I got past that first barrier and got something on the page. But there’s only so long one can afford the luxury of sucking, at least for any given piece of work. If you really want to write something that other people will read willingly, eventually you have to make it good.

So now I’m back to Square One, where the demons’ taunts are loudest, their slings and arrows sharpest. Deep down, I think I’ve got something worthwhile to share in these stories. Now it’s a matter of finding their True Natures beneath the labored words and banishing the cunning demons that so long obscured said truth behind a curtain of self-doubt.

Let’s see what I can find in my spellbook this time.

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