...but I'd be lying, of course. Insecurity hides within all of us, and different folks handle it in different ways, or exhibit it to greater or lesser degrees, or are impacted more or less by it, depending on their character and make-up. The same is true of writers, and I'm no more or less insecure than the next. But I realized something this morning when I dragged myself out of bed...
Insecurity doesn't go away with publishing scores.
I know, I know. You're probably thinking: "Duh, Kevin. I could've told you that." And I'm sure in some practical, logical sense I did understood that. BUT, this blog has been all about expressing myself, the ups and downs along my writing journey, and blogging often has a cathartic effect, helping me get things out of my system, so here goes the obvious...
A year ago, it felt like everything had fallen into a standstill. Two years after Hiram Grange, I felt like my "career" progress had pretty much halted. Now, Hiram Grange was a niche character, a pulp hero for pulp audiences through a respected small press, so I didn't expect that to break any sales records. AND, it garnered great reviews and comments, even notched a few Stoker Recommendations, whatever those are worth.
But I thought I'd get a lot more done after that, and I didn't. Part of the problem was starting a novel twice only to have it fall apart in the final stages, then begin Billy and leave off that for long stretches. BUT, things were going nowhere fast, and I definitely started to feel a little insecure.
However, then I sold the serial novella to Lamplight Magazine last June, sold another story, was asked by Crystal Lake to put together a collection, and some other cool stuff happened, like "Horror 101" and my stint at Cemetery Dance as a submissions reader. And, there's some cool stuff on the way.
But, after all that, I find myself battling with insecurity once again. Part of it was being really tired this morning, and the simple fact of the matter that, for the most part, I'm still writing novels and novellas on-spec. I guess there will always be a certain amount of insecurity in that, because you really have no idea during all that labor if you'll see a return for that work.
However, I think my insecurity has a different angle to it, this time. See, the novellas are sitting with the biggest publishers I've submitted to yet. The Billy novel will go to a certified mid-list publisher. And, I can't help grappling with little thoughts in my head that go like this...
you're not good enough to run with those big dogs
you'll always write for the small and smaller press
your writing is only OKAY and will never have that SNAP it needs
it's just not meant to be
And to be honest, a big part of it is just the concept: I can't imagine myself published by these houses, just don't have that self-confidence yet, I guess. I know if those projects get rejected I'm not going to rush right off and submit them to small markets just because I want them "published," because I am committed to moving up the ladder. But it's just hard to see myself in that position, much as I want it.
Anyway. After groggily rolling out of bed, getting some caffeine in me, I pounded away on Billy, and I'm good to go. Occasional bouts of insecurity is just something all of us have to deal with, writers even more so, in many ways.
More on this tomorrow, perhaps.