I gather that every writer suffers from insecurities. No exceptions here.
The RWA-circuit of critiques and chapter contests don't really help. Everyone's got an opinion, and many of them conflict with each other. I gather that I am in a similar boat to a lot of writers. Chapter contests seem a bit like the lottery. Take a good story, and it might score perfect, or it might score 30%. No telling which. And I've been all over that spectrum. I've also talked about that before.
This weekend, I've been doing a major polish job on Leap. My poor Sci Fi Romance has been beaten and bloodied in the contest circuit for over a year now. I am usually "close", but never quite finaling. The old cliche of "always a bridesmaid" doesn't even fit...more like "always invited to the shower, never a bridesmaid". And the scary part to me, as a writer, is that I think its good.
As of about 30 seconds ago, I have finished a pass through my entire novel, start to finish. I have read, polished, added a few words here and there (and a love scene, LOL). The last time I looked past page 30 was before the Golden Heart last fall. So the material is pretty fresh to me. I have yet to cringe when I read a scene, or scoff, or blush, or scratch my head puzzled by my intentions.
I think its good. At least as good as a lot of published work that I've read. But I have nothing but a bunch of "close, but not quite" contest scores and a small stack of form rejections from agents.
So where does that leave me?
Scared. Insecure. Confused. What if this is not nearly as good as I think it is? What if this is as good as I'll ever get, and its not enough? What do I do then? Can I possibly grow enough as a writer to ever understand what I'm missing?
I would so much rather be reading along and think its all crap. Crap is something I can improve on. I can't fix problems I can't see. And how do I know if the invisible crap-factor is my writing, my ideas, or just my choice of who to show it to?
And worst of all, if one of my trusty crit partners can put her finger on what's wrong with this story that its not quite "there", what do I do? Re-write? Send it to dust-bunny-camp? What if the problem is my ideas? I can't make Leap into a vampire/werewolf/shifter/demon paranormal. I can't make my hero an alpha (he's way too beta). I can't make my heroine a saint, or put her crazy (and un-politically correct) father on psych meds.
I can't fix that much.