What if I am not good enough?
That is the quiet, ever present whisper in my head as I am trying to finish my first novel. I am confident in the idea and the story. I am sure of the twists and action and the overall story arch and message. I am especially sure of the message which is ironic because that is the major underlying theme of the story.
Yet sometimes the words feel like they won’t come. They feel all bunched up and twisted inside my head so that they don’t flow. Then I wonder ‘what if they are not good enough’. Maybe there is a reason they won’t flow. I know the story is good so maybe it is just the teller of the story that is lacking.
I have published collections of erotic stories that did well enough. I know I can write but what if, in a cruel quirk of fate, I am just not good enough to write something that doesn’t end with a money shot? What if base titillation is the peak of my ability?
I know the advice to just push through and to believe in your own words and not to worry because you can always revise and rewrite. I know those things are all true but still I find myself paralyzed at times by my lack confidence in my own ability to tell a story to the fullness that I think this story deserves. We’ve all read things or seen movies that were good ideas slaughtered by bad writing or, worse still, just left limp with a muddled, lack luster telling. It is like the story was betrayed in the telling.
If I could tell you this story you’d understand why this is so ironic, my own battle with fear. I actually completed it once. I typed out 93,000 words and finished it only to realize that telling it in third person didn’t work. The power of the story is lost if I am not directly linked to the story in first person. I have to own the story even though I am not basing the character on myself in any way; I have to own the point of view. I just feel if I am not willing to put myself into it, to bare myself to it, it means nothing and this story deserves to mean something.
So I am going to be 51 in a little over a month and I am still paralyzed by my fear of not being good enough. I am pushing through, I am pushing the story out because I can always go back and revise and rewrite . . . but it is not easy. Maybe it is not supposed to be.
Maybe the facing of my own fear is the price I have to pay for writing this story.
It is a lot easier to write smut. As long as it titillates, it’s ok. It has served its purpose and fulfilled expectations.
I want something more than OK though. I want this story to be the thing I see in my mind, the emotions I feel in my heart as I write it. I want the power I see in it . . . I want to share that.
I hope I am good enough.