Taking writer’s doubt to a new level


As I’m currently spending my writing time trudging deep through the rewrite of my next manuscript, I’ve been having a bit of a tough time.

Like all writers and authors, my struggle with impostor syndrome and writer’s doubt is real. But, with my unique talent of taking things to new heights, I’ve developed the average self-doubt into a new level I’ve named ‘Intellectual Inadequacy’.

It stems from a few things.

Reading: Everything I read is always so much better than how I perceive my own writing. Of course it is. It’s been published!

Competitions: Whether it be short story competitions, novel development programs, or prizes where you submit finished manuscripts, I always feel that the winners stories are on such a higher level in terms of story, theme, relevance and social issues. They are writing powerful stories. Stories that need to be told. They are layered, textured and most importantly, relevant.

You see, I don’t write stories with powerful political or social messages.

I don’t write literary fiction with impossibly beautiful prose woven into a profound narrative.

I just write the stories that are in my head. My book launch could never be a fancy affair with themed decorations and promotional items. My stories are just stories.

Maybe, it’s just all in my warped perception that I’m seeing things this way. But I do feel escapism type stories – genre fiction – are seen as less important, less intellectual, and less relevant. And I don’t know why it’s starting to bug me now.

Perhaps it’s just the genre snobs who have got into my head. You know, the ones who think literary fiction is superior because… Well, I don’t really know why they think that!

Or, maybe it’s the fact I feel inferior because I don’t have a tertiary degree and therefore don’t think I can compete.

I don’t know.

As a reader I appreciate all genres and types of fiction. I don’t read a lot of literary fiction, but I do read widely across the commercial fiction landscape. I understand that books that stand up for rights, deal with social issues, and that have great impact on our changing world, are important. I get it.

But as a writer, who isn’t drawn to writing those types of books, I know that writing any type of book is hard.

Sure, some books require more research than others, but the main structure of a good novel is the same. You still need to have a narrative that works, pacing that flows, rising tension, a strong climax, and a satisfactory resolution. And, of course, you need to have a good story.

I’m probably just talking myself around in circles. Worrying about something that is not worth worrying about. after all, as I’ve just said, if the story is good enough that’s what matters. And no matter how amazing the writing, how powerful the message, or how literary the book is; the story needs to be en pointe.

If the story is good enough, the book is worthy of existing.