The Fuck-Spiral

Ever had one of those moments of self-doubt?

Today it started browsing Twitter. Someone was talking about book promotion, the ups and downs of self-promotion vs. publisher promotion. Self-doubt came up behind me, slapped a hand across my mouth, and knifed me right in the chest.

Am I ever going to have a novel I’m happy enough with to start sending out queries to agents? Am I ever going to land a publishing deal? Am I ever going to be a writer that people write reviews about or discuss over coffee? Will strangers ever run their fingers down my book’s spine in a bookshop or a library? Am I shouting into the abyss? Am I damned? Am I lost?

It’s not just that your work isn’t good enough. It’s the fear that *you* aren’t good enough, that you’re secretly hopeless at everything, that you’ll never get anywhere and your dreams of actually ~being a writer~ are just pretence and pretension.

I know this is the sort of thing that comes with the territory. In some ways, it helps a bit to know it doesn’t get much better with publication. See, for example, Amanda Palmer’s recent “Fucking Joan” article. Joan is essentially “the Joneses”, only instead of the person next door with the nicer car than you it’s the artist who’s done things better and younger and with more style. It also calls to mind, for me at least, Joan of Arc, a woman so fucking extraordinary that every so often I stop and wonder at the fact that she was a real person. I mean she was 13 and she turned up to the Dauphin like “God sent me” and then boom she was leading armies in a massive war. And then they made her a saint. Fucking Joan. I’m 31 and I still haven’t led any armies!

I can barely finish *reading* a book these days, let alone writing one. And I’m doing a poetry course next semester. I am going to crash and burn.

Excuse me. I’m going to crawl into bed and sulk for a while.

4 Comments


  1. // Reply

    Sophie, having read your posts since Amanda shined a light your way I want you to know that you are a compelling writer, and you win through your honesty and communication skills. Fortunately, the triumph of self-deprecation has been championed by writers such as Lena Dunham, Amanda, and yourself. Fortunately, because we all have self-doubts but we are taught to only let our strengths show in public. So perhaps your weakness is really your strength, and the fact that you posted that honest piece of writing before crawling into bed is what sets you apart from the oodles of folks who silently hide under the covers. Nice going.


  2. // Reply

    I know I want to read your books, and I’m pretty sure others do too!! So just ignore your brain when it’s telling you this sort of crazy stuff. <3

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