Reading through what I’ve written on this topic, I have decided to share some of my journal entries, made during an attack of Writer’s Doubt. I have edited these slightly for clarity and to avoid repetition.
Writer’s doubt. Today or yesterday, I had a huge meltdown because my story about Grandpa would not work out and I felt like a failure. I felt stressed because I envisaged working and working on creating different plots that did work, pouring all my energy into it, until Sunday, and maybe it would still not be good enough to send. Meantime I had two workshops to prepare for and give, day workshops, so I was going to burn myself out. I felt panic stricken. I remembered the prayer: I’ll take care of the quantity; You take care of the quality. I scaled down my expectations of myself considerably. I decided that even if I gave a hundred per cent attention to the little stories in every spare second until Sunday, I was not going to be able to redress the learning I had not done about creating plots, nor indeed the weakness or limitation on my part in that area. The point is that I need to send the story off anyway; it is important for me to hold to that rhythm. The process of sending it off, of sending the submissions off is an important one for me. It is a connection with the outer world, so that the inner does not remain inside me. There is a movement in me as I send off my brain child into the ether that has an importance for me. It is a letting go, and a trusting. It is adventurous. It is almost like magic. I do everything I can and then I push it off into the unknown. It is my little communication to the out there. It is satisfying to me. It is myself in communication to the beyond me. It is almost like a conversation with somebody or some bodies.
I did not sleep well at all last night. I had a horrible dream of a blank cream wall. It does not sound awful, but it was, shocking and juddering, and I woke up. I thought, well, maybe this picture book writing just is not something I can do. Maybe it just is not what I’m called to. Maybe I am forcing this. I had a horrible feeling in my head, with blocks of things moving around, very stressed.
This morning I felt calmer. I tidied up my story as kindly and gently as I could, with love, and sent it off. This freed me. In the morning light I told myself that even if I do not have a natural gift for creating plots, it is a skill that I can learn. Right then and there I applied myself to finding out whatever I could about plot structures for children’s books on the internet.