There comes a point for me, usually between the second and third draft (which is realistically where I am in this novel) where every insecurity I have as a writer emerges.
It always starts with a small nibble at the back of my mind. You suck, it says to me. And, like when my cat wants my dinner, I push it away. But see, just like when my cat wants my dinner, there are claws involved. The claws dig in, scratching, poking, and finally I have no choice but to acknowledge the sucking.
I dare to suck! I scream back at the nibble.
No one cares the nibble responds.
In that moment, the nibble outgrows the metaphor. It becomes a wave inside my head, inching ever closer toward high tide. I analyze eveything from the color of a character’s hair to the direction of the story to whether or not what I’m doing makes any sense. I pour endless time into character journals and scenarios that will never happen, all in the name of development. Side characters get tons of attention. Side characters to the side characters get developed. All because I am wallowing in the biggest worry of all:
What if no one reads this?
Every writer will say: I write for myself!
We do! We really do! But you know what, when no one reads what we’ve written, that eats away at us. So, there comes a point when my little insecurity bug bites and I scratch and scratch and scratch until I’m bleeding.
As a queer writer of queer characters, I find myself even more worried about that whole “what if no one reads it.” I live in a world where the bisexual community is still misunderstood and erased and while I hope to only be telling a story that is authentic … what if no one actually cares about being authentic in the story? What if the gaystream (and mainstream) media win the day?
What if the stories I am trying so hard to tell just don’t matter?
Truth be told, the only way out of this is to write. To just keep writing. To write and write and write and write and write and hope that in the end, the insecurity road has given me a better draft than the one I started with. But until the writing really begins in earnest, all there is to really do is to keep itching and scratching out ideas and hope that in the end, they all make sense.
But sometimes, one also needs to just vent. Just a little bit.