As I begin to write my next novel I find myself exquisitely sensitive to the merest hint of criticism when I talk about what I’m writing. I’ve done an about-face recently and decided to finish an unfinished novel I started in 2001. Yes, I put aside The Goldsmith’s Daughter. Again. The scope of that story daunted me. And I found I was not happy to be back in that world as I was writing it. The title of my next novel is mbird and I’ve secretly delighted in and loved this magical world for 15 years. I am blissfully happy when I disappear back into it. Giddy, actually. Yet I find myself plagued with self-doubt when I think about the viability of this book and the potential criticism I might face even as I mentor/cheerlead all my writing students to just keep writing. No matter what. The fearless honesty of the article below made me realize, once again, how sensitive we are as writers, so easily wounded when we’re in the early stages of a book. Thank you, Irene Allison, for your timely words. You just gave me a large drink of courage this morning. I’m putting this out there as a first step towards silencing that loud, dominant voice of self-doubt.
Here is a link to Irene Allison’s blog post.