Sunday, August 03, 2008

Magnificent Obsession

A couple of weeks ago, I hit yet another self-imposed stumbling block on my WIP. It was a sublime moment of self-pity brought on by own doubts, which rise up when I least expect them. I was too ashamed to whine to my critique partners, because I knew what they would say (which was what they said the last time I got whiny!). So I yanked myself up by my own boot straps (not a pleasant experience) and got over it. I’m back to editing and revising. Forward ho.

I was surprised -- and somewhat comforted -- to be reminded again that even multi-published authors experience that sense of self-defeat. From an article about Janette Turner Hospital in the September 2008 issue of The Writer:

“During the writing of her books, she reaches a stage where she believes she can’t continue and the project is not possible after all. ‘But it’s though it has its claws in me and won’t be released,’ she says. ‘It refuses to let me disengage and start on a another project.” She finds herself obsessed with ‘this nondoable thing’ for a few weeks to two months, yet even when she’s in agony about it, there’s nothing else she’d rather be obsessing about.”

Obsession. That about sums it up, doesn’t it?


Carla Swafford said...

Obsession? Just because I eat, drink, sleep everything about writing and becoming published, doesn't mean I'm obsessed!

JoAnn said...

Writers are a breed apart, aren't they, Carla?

After reading the passage again, I'm thinking something different. It's not self-doubt that temporarily stops her. It's the logistics and specifics of the book itself. I don't think she doubts her ability at all.

Oh well. It was a nice thought.