A Writerly Crisis of Faith

Apathy_Bear_by_MrsGeeI’m writing a new novel. This one is for an adult audience, not my usual genre which is young adult. This is new territory for me. I spent months doing the research, and now I’m well into the story.  I’ll probably spend another year completing it before I’ll shop it around to publishers. If it’s any good and with a little luck it will get published and then I’ll start another one. Such is the life of a novelist.

But there’s always that chance that I won’t find a publisher for this one. It’s an extremely competitive field. I might have missed the boat with the topic which may be passé by the time the story is complete. Am I wasting a couple years of my life working on something that will simply grow mouldy in a file cabinet drawer in my basement? Every day I wonder if my time would be better spent working in a soup kitchen, bringing meals to the elderly, volunteering in a hospital – all things that would help make my community a better place.

This is the dilemma faced by most writers. Hugely successful ones sign contracts before a project is written, but for most of us, writing is an act of faith. We enjoy the process, but we also hope that our words  will  find an audience to entertain, inform, or simply be thought-provoking. But there are days, like this one, when the words aren’t flowing and the passage of time stares me in the face and I wonder … is this the best use of the time?

4 thoughts on “A Writerly Crisis of Faith

  1. louisacameron@telus.net

    I hear you, Shelley. Sometimes (not often) I feel this way too. Failure is always a possibility–and maybe not because of the work we do. There are so many factors involved in getting published, a lot of it revolving around presenting the right work to the right person at the right time, which is, obviously, out of our control. My guess is though that your feelings will pass and on another day, the words WILL flow and you will be buoyed by faith again.

  2. Andrea Stephenson

    Shelley I’ve had these same doubts recently – about whether writing is enough against all the trouble in the world, whether what I write is important enough. Those doubts always come and then they go away again when I think about what other writers have meant to me.

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