I once had an agent tell me it was impossible to write a novel in first-person. “Too claustrophobic,” she said. As if I needed her (misplaced) negativity to add to my self-doubt.
“I’m coming to understand that self-doubt is our fuel.”
How do you combat self-doubt and keep writing?
I got an email from a writer friend who is working on a complicated memoir. She is stuck in the process. In her email, she described the self-doubt that crept in after witnessing a commercial agent dispensing what I consider toxic advice at a workshop. When another writer at the workshop described her own work-in-progress to the agent, because the described work falls outside the expected form for a self-help book, the agent said it was a bad idea and it would never sell.
To repeat: The agent said it was a bad idea and it would never sell.
When I think of this, a cliché tingles the back of my neck (clichés are based in truth, right?): the hair at the nape prickles, a shortcut for anger. Thanks, Agent. Way to shut a writer down! Here’s an adaptation of what I wrote back to my…
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