Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not Good Enough

You know those old TV shows that would poke fun using the whole "angel" and "devil" on your shoulder thing? Family Matters is one that pops into my mind, when the dad, Carl, would sit there and look at each of his shoulders. The devil would sit there and try to convince him to do "bad" things or NOT to do things he SHOULD do, and would pull out every trick in the book to make it work. The angel would fight with the devil and try to convince Carl to listen and do the "right" thing, or... not do whatever stunt the devil was trying to talk him into.

I don't remember, but it seems like he listened to the devil most often, and it always ended up badly. Which, considering even a TV show needs "conflict" to keep it interesting, there's no surprise there.

Do you ever feel like that? That you have this war going on within your head? I do... and way too often! But instead of trying to convince me to go be mean to Steve Urkel, it's telling me that I'm not good enough. It's showing me every fault I have and shoving it down my throat and convincing me why I will never succeed.

And I gotta tell you. It gets old after a while.

And a part of me gulps, because what if I'm really NOT good enough? I mean, we all hear to make sure our stuff is our BEST before we put it out there, but how come I can always find a way to make my stuff better? Will it EVER be my best? The best of authors say they are always learning and getting better... so how do we know when we are "good enough" to proceed?

So, while I don't want to give the devil any credence and would love nothing more than to take my little index finger and flick him off my shoulder, I have to wonder sometimes if it's really him talking or if it's God telling me to edit more, write more, learn more.

I'd love to tell you I have this GREAT awesome answer to this and have SEEN THE LIGHT.

But I don't.

Instead, I'd love to know the following: Am I the only one out there that struggles with this self-doubt? And if you do as well, how do you overcome? How do you differentiate between the devil's put downs and simply facing reality?

9 comments:

Jody Hedlund said...

Krista, I think that's why we need to get objective feedback on our work. We just don't have the distance from it to know whether those critical whisperings are from the devil or not! You got feedback from the Genesis contest that showed your work IS really good! Take that to heart! I'm sure you're doing a lot better than you give yourself credit for! However, when in doubt, I'd say we need to have someone more professional look at it (editor, author, etc.). Sometimes a crit group alone isn't enough. And yes, I always have a lot of doubt about my work and that's why I just love getting feedback from others.

Krista Phillips said...

Great points Jody! Side note: I'm feeling slightly better this morning. I was having only a marginal meltdown last night and sleep helped. LOL

I think part of my issue is the one you pointed out: feedback. I've had tons of it on my first chapter, quite a bit on many of my middle chapters, but the end of my book is virgin in the way of having other's (besides my mother) critique it. In preparing for a "request" from an agent, I was doing one last edit and found the end of book, lets just say, not in stellar condition. I'd been months since I'd reread it and evidently I've learned alot, *grin* So I did a pretty good edit on it but still, it's seen my eyes only and when I pushed "send" on my e-mail last night with my manuscript, I was in sore need of a brown paper bag to breathe into.

But this morning I'm all about giving God control (hard to do at almost midnight when you've lacked sleep for almost a week...) and resting in the fact that HIS will is perfect and if I'm truely following him, I can't mess things up.

And that's my say for the morning. LOL

Katie Ganshert said...

Oh girl, you are far from alone. I'm right there with you. I have way too many doubts flitting through my mind. All. The. Time. I pray about it. And then I pray some more. And some more. I'm constantly second guessing myself. But it's my passion. I'm going to do it regardless of the outcome.

I agree with Jody - feedback is key. Objective feedback.

Thanks for sharing your stuggle! Makes me feel less alone. :)

sherrinda said...

Oh yes! Yes! Yes! I'm a doubter. But Krista, if God has opened the door with a request for a full, then walk through that door with head held high!!! Maybe this won't be "the one", but it is definitely a HUGE stepping stone! HUGE! Hang in there! I know you have what it takes!

Marybeth Poppins said...

I think this is just part of being a writer. There are always improvements to be made, but those improvements might not necessarily make the book better or what we want it to be. You just have to follow your heart and trust that got will take care of the rest :)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Yes, I fight this. I love that you compared yourself to Steve Urkel. Couple of thoughts after reading this...remember God is not a God of condemnation--He urges us to improve and encourages us to...but I find such freedom in that, don't you? That we CAN improve, with the help of the Spirit and that there's hope for getting better.

The best way to tune out the punk voices is to remember TRUTH--all the glorious things He's made you b/c of His son and all He wants to do in you and with you yet.
~ Wendy

Lady Glamis said...

Everybody deals with this! It's so difficult. Feedback is important, but you do have to remember that it's all very subjective. Put your trust in yourself and God and have some confidence!

I would highly recommend your beta readers read this before they read your work. It's so important not to go into these things just looking for what's wrong.

Krista Phillips said...

You all are so wonderful! Your encouraging comments meant a lot to me today, and to know I'm not the only one that experiences that rush of self-doubt/panic is so comforting!!!

Terri Tiffany said...

Krista,
You could have been writing from my own heart. I struggle with everything you mentioned. For me,it is about being open to learning more and being willing to take feedback and do the edits. WHen I look back at previous work, I cringe--and can see improvements but I also know I have a ways to go yet. It is always a work in progress. You will get there:)