When You Feel Bi-Polar About Your Manuscript

by - December 17, 2015

when you feel bi-polar about your manuscript - Alanna Rusnak

Monday: la-di-da...skipping through the daisies...this story is so beautiful I want to pinch myself...

Tuesday: I-can't-even. Who wrote this crap?

Wednesday: Wow! Did I write this? This is really good. This is really, really, really good.

Thursday: Garbage.

Friday: Maybe it's worth it...oh, I don't know...but maybe...?

Is this normal? Because it really doesn't feel like it should be normal. It feels like I should be on medication or something...

Self-doubt has got to be the biggest joy-blocker of all and the crazy roller-coaster of 'I love it'/'I hate it' is so much worse than those childhood anxieties of 'he loves me'/'he loves me not' - because, let's be honest, we all pre-counted the petals and only played with the flowers that had an even number...

There's no petal-counting when it comes to a manuscript - there's just seeing your heart bled out on a page so vulnerable that the idea of quitting holds more weight than accepting that by putting it out there you're opening yourself up to the possibility that it won't be loved with the same nurturing attention you've given part of your life for.

There is so much garbage out there - things I can't even believe made it through traditional publishing avenues and ended up on bookstore shelves - and the idea that anyone anywhere could categorize my work in the same place makes me feel sick. 

But here's the thing: it's all subjective.

I happen to LOVE books about zombies or vampires and I steer clear of anything in the romance section.

You might LOVE romance and want to burn a vampire book in a cleansing fire.

I think anything written by James Rollins is a brilliant journey into a world of science, possibility and mystery. You might find it dry with facts and figures.

Just because someone doesn't adore books by Anne Rice or Ted Dekker doesn't mean they're bad writers. It only means they write to a certain demographic.

A writer's job is to know their audience and write to them. Because they are the one's that will read it and {hopefully} love it - and not stick it on the garbage shelf.

But what if I want everyone to love it? ...SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP!


The stupid thing is that all my worry is unfounded. I have beta-readers returning positive thoughts and that should be propelling me forward - not spinning me backwards to reveal the 'not good enough' devil voice, spilling oil out over my hard-spun words.

I am my own worst enemy.

"Is it garbage?" I ask myself, nervously squinting at my pages.

Not today! 

I think...

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  1. Story of my photoraphic life. I've been trying harder and harder not to think about whether or not this is good by someone else's standards, but to really only compare it to my own. Did I try something new? Did I push the envelope? Did I give the client (/reader) what they were looking for but then left a little room for myself to be creative? If I can say yes to those things, everything else falls by the wayside. Composition, colour, lighting, mood, imperfections. They make no difference if I've hit the nail on the head for ME. And I think when you can create something unique for you, your (target) audience is going to naturally follow.

    1. Isn't it funny how we can be so hard on ourselves?? Or ridiculous. Or both. Gah! The bane of the artist ;)

  2. It is not garbage. It is a wonderful book! And I'm so happy you let me be one of your beta readers. It will be exciting to read it again after it's published!

  3. I never thought to pre-count the petals.

    1. Seriously?? Ah...you're an honest romantic ;)

  4. You're being too hard on yourself and your book. It's like your children. You push them because you love them and you want them to be successful. It's easy to forget to just hug them and let them be what they're going to be! You'll find the balance. Give yourself a break.

    1. Excuse me...I'm going to go hug my pages now :)

  5. Sure. That's what I've been told in college. Know your audience. But, what if your audience is you, b/c you're not a fan of a lot of the stuff out there? And, in turn, doesn't that make it hard to find an audience?

    1. I suppose it does make it harder...BUT I do think, ultimately, you should write to yourself. Because if you're not writing what makes you happy then what's the point, right?

  6. I'm afraid I fall into the category of "might LOVE romance and want to burn a vampire book in a cleansing fire." #sorrynotsorry


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© Alanna Rusnak