As writers we’re used to second guessing ourselves. As we write, everything from what a character is wearing in a particular scene to how and where to end the scene gets wrangled over. Some of us go back over and change details as we write because we’re second guessing a particular element. Usually this is just the result of the creative process and it results in our finding the best elements for our story. It’s a productive second guessing.
Then, there’s the second guessing that comes late in the revision process. This is the kind that’s the result of so much time spent on a manuscript that suddenly we question every aspect wondering if we’ve gotten it just “right” yet. Or one particular aspect will bother us because we’ve rewritten it so many times trying to get it “right” that we can no longer evaluate clearly.
It seems to me that no matter how long you have been a writer, there is one other second guess scenario. Should I or shouldn’t I (continue to write)? This is not a job for the fainthearted. We face rejection daily – now with email submissions, it can be hourly – and for every one moment of success the failures triple like the national debt.
I’m lucky in that I have a support group in the form of my critique group. When my own internal meter doesn’t feel like it’s doing the job, I can turn to them for back up advice.
What about you? Do you second guess yourself? Where do you turn when you need to know if you should turn off that demon critic?