One of the online writing groups I am in, Writers’ Coffeehouse, started a writing prompt challenge a little while ago. This week’s challenge? A struggle.
For me, a struggle of validation and self-confidence. When I first began tossing up the idea of publishing independently (or self-publishing, or indie publishing – they all mean the same thing!) one of the issues I had was with validation.
That is, how could I get it and where could I get it from?
If I had queried agents and publishers, and one of them had picked me up, I would be able to use the fact that an established publishing house, full of people I don’t know, had picked my manuscript from a pile and designated it as ‘good enough’.
But I didn’t, and so I don’t. Instead, I have to find other places of validation. Originally, my main source was from beta reader feedback. As much as the constructive criticism improved my writing, the positive feedback reminded me that my work had value.
Later on, I was able to add reviews to my sources of validation. People who didn’t know me from a bar of lavender soap were saying good things about my book. Talk about being chuffed! But whenever I felt good after reading a review, a particular line from one of my favourite poems would waft through my brain waves…
Of course, this isn’t to say that a five-star review is triumph, nor a criticism disaster, but it reminded me I shouldn’t need outside validation. I had chosen to self-publish. Thus, I had to play the role of both publisher and writer.
And with my publisher hat on, I had to tell the insecure writer in me that my book was good enough to publish, and that I, the publisher, was willing to back it. And so, I have struggled through the self-doubt and the choice to publish independently, and I have come to a place where I can say that I have confidence in my work.
Now that is some fine personal growth!