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The Nervous Novelist Jan 10, 2021

 

'Every writer I know has trouble writing.'

Joseph Heller.

 

Almost 99% of writers exist in a state of some doubt that they're any good at this writing business. The other 1% aren't very good at it.

Only a fool thinks their writing is much good while they're mid-novel. Sure, you get flashes, moments, in which a line soars, an insight cuts, or a mysterious space opens up and you think - yup, that's why I do this. And even, damn that's good. But mostly one goes to the manuscript word document in a state best described as faintly appalled.

You're not alone. Confidence is quite properly an elusive quality for this craft. You'd be useless with too much of it. Confidence and doubt keep the work human and humane, and above all else tender. After all, the novel is the art form singularly concerned with the frailty of the creature that knows God but is no god, that has the appetite of an animal, but is not quite as reliable. 

We seem to see our novel as the...

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