Friday, May 20, 2011

I love...err, hate my book

Yes, I'm ripping off the veil of shame and admitting something I don't think a lot of authors feel comfortable acknowledging (at least where readers are present) - sometimes I hate my work. Actually, hating my work is more the norm than liking it, especially when I've just finished a book. There's something about doing edits that makes me think I suck. Even though I know intellectually everyone has to revise and that my publishers did not buy my latest manuscript simply to be nice to me, sometimes I wonder what I'm doing thinking I have any business being a writer. But because I know this is my process and usually the book's not nearly as suckrageous as I think, I try to do my best and press on, as if the thing I'm now editing is not a pile of steaming…well, I'll leave you to finish that statement. ;)

With the book I submitted in January, something miraculous transpired. Finally, a book I did not hate! I kept waiting for the hate to creep over me as it always does in the days, weeks, months after submission, but nothing. Two months passed and I received a contract and I still liked it! Surely I'd turned a corner.

Then I got edits.

Suddenly my favorite book ever to write, with my favorite ever characters, had done me wrong. It had blinded me to its many, many faults. What was I thinking, liking this one best?

But I'm editing it anyway, to the best of my ability and with my wise editor's guidance. And I'm hoping that the beta readers/CPs who read it weren't lying when they said they loved it.

I submitted another book last week. I still love it. But this time, I'm not fooled. I'm waiting for the creep o' hate to begin any day now…

Part of my problem is I'm a perfectionist. I always think everything can be better. Which is a good thing, in that I keep trying and learning. But I also know that my perfectionism sometimes colors my perceptions so at certain times I need to trust others' opinions more than my own.

Do you ever hate your work? Or strongly dislike it, even temporarily? I have a successful author friend who doesn't understand this, as she never hates hers. So is it just me?


Madelyn Ford said...

I can go from hate to love back to hate in the matter of minutes, so I know what you mean. I think it's why I do not get too upset during the editing process. I never think it's good enough so when my editor suggests a change, I'm more than happy to go along.

I write kind of plot heavy series stuff which requires rereading previous stuff occasionally so that threads of the story do not get lost. Hating your own work really makes this suck.

Sonya Clark said...

When I'm stuck with a block I start hating the work in progress and sometimes everything I've ever written. I've been going through that lately in fact. But then I worked on changing a scene that I felt wasn't strong enough and the characters just started to come alive. It reminded me of why I love these two characters, if that makes sense.

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