IWSG 18 – On A Razor’s Edge

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.


I’ve gone through my work so many times I’m wondering if I’ve edited the very life out of it, then I wonder if I found all the issues. I’m living on a razor’s edge and its driving me crazy.

I’m not Shakespeare or Hemingway. We all know it. I’m just me and will that be good enough to entertain the few that will take a chance on my work. Will I let them down? Will they turn their backs on anythings else I produce?

I was brave once. All excited about signing the contract. I don’t understand what’s happened. Where is this coming from? I’m almost done. It’s almost time.

No pressure. Right!

My one solution was work on something else, but that won’t work when I’m cat-152209_1280supposed to be going through White Light one last time before the proofreader gets their chance.

I know this group is full of writers in different stages of their careers. Please, somebody give me a mantra to chant to force my doubts away for a little longer.

86 responses to “IWSG 18 – On A Razor’s Edge

  1. Our writing problems/issues/doubts/fears don’t go away – they just morph into different ones. How’s that for an inspiring mantra? πŸ™‚

    But really, just keep going. You CAN do this! You WILL do this!

  2. I’m going to second Madeline’s comment. These doubts never go away. They just change into new doubts. If you have reached the point where you are changing single sentences and fiddling over small word choices, then it’s time to pass it on to your proof-readers.

  3. Third to Madeline’s comment. And would like loan out some mantras of my own: I’m just making it better (but looks like you’re passed that stage), I’ve done the best I can and Writing was what I’m meant to do, so I can do this.

  4. I am good enough, strong enough, And have complete faith that what I give to my work will be my best effort to achieve success.

    It’s rough Anna but a start. Hugs! You can do this.

  5. I think we all suffer those feelings. I know I do, I quit and then start again almost on a daily basis wondering why do I do this and if I’m good enough and will it ever get easier? You have come so much farther already–you go, hang in there.

    You are not the only one that thinks about such things. I just read this article, which in a way is about the similar subject of doubt, procrastination,why and should I keep on or why do I do this to myself, the writer’s life in general-> Chuck Wendig TerribleMinds blog — KAMERON HURLEY: ABSOLUTE ZERO β€” THE TEMPERATURE AT WHICH WRITERS GIVE UP

    Juneta Writer’s Gambit

  6. There’s no silver bullet, my friend, the fact is we all suffer these doubts. It’s like someone said along the way (might have been Anne R. Allen), getting published isn’t the end goal, it’s just the beginning (of the work that needs to be done). Once we stagger across that finish line, we’re in a whole new race, against the clock, ourselves, others, our doubts. But hey, that’s what the IWSG is for, right? πŸ™‚

  7. Do your best, then let it go. There’s a certain peace in knowing your place in the Universe.

    • My place in the universe? Now that was something I hadn’t considered. I guess this is one way to find it. πŸ™‚

      • And that place–it’s a good thing, just not always what we hoped for. Me, I thought I’d become a powerful industry leader. In the fullness of time, I find I’m quite satisfied with my teaching and writing. I wouldn’t have predicted that.

  8. Hey, my IWSG post is about this exact problem. I have no advice other than, “Let it go, let it go.” I’m just going to do my best and send it in for publication. AFTER that I am insecure about how readers receive the book. sheesh…Best wishes on your new release!!

  9. I don’t know of a mantra, but I believe in you. πŸ™‚
    sherry @ fundinmental

  10. I’m totally like you, so I have no words of advice or mantra. The doubt never goes away– the thing is to try to use it rather than let it paralyze you.

  11. I’m actually surprised, because you always seem uber confident and self-assured. But I have a mantra for you: “This too shall pass.” Also, “Fake it till you make it.” It’s normal to have nerves–in fact, better to have nerves than to take it for granted.

    You can do this. πŸ™‚

  12. How about, ‘doubt, doubt go away / give me a clout another day’?
    Ok – my ‘poetry’ sucks, I knew that. But for what it’s worth, yep – I know that feeling when you’ve edited so much it feels like you’ve cut the soul out of your work. Yuk. Take a step back, run round the garden naked or something, take a deep breath and carry on.
    (And completely ignore everything I say too! ;))

  13. I know that feeling of revising a novel to death. I see someone has already said, I’m doing my best. How about, I can do this. That helps me when I start to get frustrated.

  14. Oh, I so know what you mean. I hate that feeling, but it persists. When the doubts get too strong, I tell myself two things: If I love my story and I’ve poured all that love into it, someone else will love it, too. And, if you believe, all things are possible. Believe, my friend, and send it on its way. It’s time.

  15. I hear you, Anna. By the time my books are ready to be released, I’ve read them so many times I’m almost (note: almost) sick of them. Best wishes. You can do it!

    IWSG #94

  16. I wish I had a mantra for you! The thing I try to think about is that we are always moving forward. Nothing is absolute, therefore, you can’t fail absolutely. You know you’ve put everything you can into your story, give it one more pass to make sure it speaks to YOU. If it does, it will speak to others :). Promise.

    Happy IWSG day!


  17. Right now I’m working on edits my editor returned to me for my next book. I’ve discovered no matter how good you think you did–you can always do better! I’m grateful for another pair of eyes on my work.

  18. No mantra here. I have so little confidence in my editing abilities, I dislike the editing part. Although it does feel nice when the manuscript tightens up.

  19. We all have these days. Rejoice in being a writer and go read Elizabeth Seckman’s blog today http://eseckman.blogspot.com/2015/10/on-perspectives-iwsg-post.html I couldn’t put it better than she did. I think she’s got the right idea…!

  20. Sending cheese and a “stop it” button. (So you can punch it every time a nasty doubt creeps in.) I hope both help immensely. πŸ˜‰

  21. Nice to know I’m not alone. I’m only on the second revision, but all of those things are lurking in the back of my brain (music helps, but doesn’t completely silence them). I have decided I just need to soldier on, hoping for the best.

  22. I feel the same way, too, so no helpful mantra over here. Sorry. But I do find it kind of reassuring to remind myself that a little self-doubt can be a GOOD thing. If we get too overconfident about our writing, we can lose our ability to keep growing and improving as writers.

  23. I had edited the first book in my series with Avrianna so many times I lost track. I thought I had edited it to death but beta readers have been pointing out some things that slipped past me and that need a tiny bit of work. It is overwhelming. I feel as though this book will never be done. Especially since an agent could suggest more and then there’s edits with the publisher’s editor. And I realize our books are never done until they’re published.

  24. Books are never done until they’re published (which I realized when I put up my novella on Amazon and had to drag my mind out of that world) and writers will never completely get rid of their doubts. Might as well get used to it, sadly! It’s the way we’re programmed!

  25. Not a writer, but no book is perfect, even those who’ve been beta read, proof-read, and professionally edited. Ar some point you have to let go and trust.

  26. Hi,
    I too don’t think the doubt goes away. Writing strips away our facades. It is a piece of us that being published. So hang in there. Learn to accept that doubts are doubts but they are not you.


  27. I’m in a better place than I was yesterday…if you can honestly chant that you’re golden. πŸ™‚

  28. Stephanie Scott

    I have edited the life out of writing before. It takes practice and experience not to, and even then it happens. Critique is so important though. I think it’s worth the risk to open our work to be challenged by other writers.

  29. I’m in the same spot you are. I once edited the life out of one of my novels, and I hope one day to revisit it and start again — I still think it’s a worthwhile idea. I’m trying to get one ready for reviews by year-end, and I’m still seeing things that need to change (plus working with my editor).

    Whenever I feel the doubts and insecurities, I think about those last moments before giving birth…the one time I did this, I announced to my husband and the nurse that I couldn’t do it…and this was right before the baby came.

  30. I agree with everyone else. Those doubts never go away, we just learn to live with them πŸ™‚
    I think there is a kind of comfort in nitpicking and over-editing. Like a paratrooper who triple-checks their gear before a jump. It stalls the final leap. And it’s useful, and you need to do it, of course. But after a point it becomes less about safety and more about stalling.
    I’m sure your book is fantastic! Take the leap!

  31. I wish I had a mantra for you but I struggle with the same issues. But we are all cheering for you!! it’s so exciting that your book will be out in the world soon.

  32. Just say, “These are not the doubts I’m looking for,” and move on πŸ˜‰ Ok, so that might not work. Sometimes we have to just keep going despite the doubts.

  33. I call it the editing wall. As in, you hit the wall eventually and everyone feels this way when they are near the end of edits. The only thing to do is either give up and call it good, or use some technique to go through things one more time like read it backwards to look for typos or read it out of order to look for other kinds of flaws. That you feel this way now probably just means that you are really and truly done with editing. It’s a good thing. Really.

  34. Doubts, doubts, go away. Come back another day. =D Hey it’s Halloween, you can even put on a costume while you chant? Hm? Congrats on making it to this point, Anna. I know you’ll make it to the other side, as well!

  35. angelinetrevena

    Oh, that good old writer’s friend self doubt, eh? Sadly, creativity and insecurity go hand in hand. If you’re feeling like you’ve editied the life out of it, it’s probably time to hand it on. Even if it’s just to one person whose opinion you trust. Give it to fresh eyes, and you’ll probably find out you’ve been worrying over nothing. Good luck!

  36. Just keep telling yourself – “Almost done! Almost done!”

  37. Looks like you’ve gotten a lot of good mantras. πŸ™‚ I’m reminded of “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” (Dory from Finding Nemo) but then swimming isn’t really writing. Maybe swim in the words?

    What I like to do when I’m feeling like “man, this sucks” is drink a Red Bull and read a section I haven’t read in a while. Or maybe I’ll read a different story I’ve written that I don’t intend to edit right away. I’ll get a smile, be entertained by my own words, and then go back to the one I’ve been editing with a renewed confidence in my craft. Not really a mantra, but maybe an idea?

  38. People aren’t perfect, so no book will be perfect. There will be always something overlooked, but if the story is good, then readers won’t care as much about the rest. Also, sometimes setting the project aside for a bit can help give you some clarity when you return to it. Good luck!

  39. I’ve been listening to, This is My Fight Song over and over again. I am waiting for a final proof on a book that was supposed to release this month. The production delays have shaken my confidence ugh. Did I miss mistakes because I was too stressed? Oh wait I’m supposed to be being positive, You are a talented writer and everything will be good. Think positive and powerful:)

  40. You can do it. Everyone has offered such wonderful advice. Just keep pushing forward. πŸ™‚

  41. Whenever I think something is too difficult or it seems I can’t do it any more, I think of something a yoga instructor said many years ago: the greatest resistance, doubt and fear show up just before the moment of breakthrough. I think of that to help myself push through whatever difficulties I’m having. Maybe it’ll help you as well. I guess doubts are something we never fully get rid of; we just can’t let them control us.

  42. I think I can. I think I can. heck no – I KNOW I can. I KNOW I can.
    (sorry took me so long to reply – I was out of the country.)

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