Thank you for having me on your lovely blog, Rachel. If you could see me as I write this, you’d notice a smile blooming on my face. Rachel is the name of my heroine in my novel, Storm’s Interlude, to be released this year from The Wild Rose Press. I chose the name because it’s feminine, yet strong, as I suspect you are. ‘Fess up, now.
I’d like to talk today about self-doubt. So often we become our own roadblocks to success.
Writers, I think, start writing mentally as babes. I think we observe the world more closely. See things in greater detail. React to situations on a deeper level. And we question more. Two of our questions being “why” and “what if…” We also read more and want to spend more time in those created worlds. I don’t mean a loss of reality, but a desire to see if we can create alternate worlds much as our beloved authors have.
Many of us start writing as children. I wrote a series of short stories in the fifth grade about a little man from Mars who had trouble understanding why we earthlings did the things we do. Perhaps it was my own attempt to understand the inconsistencies of this world, where wrong is often made right by money or power. I loved the reactions of my classmates when they read my stories and I knew. I knew within my heart that this was what I wanted to do. So, I wrote and wrote until a visitor came. Unfortunately, I didn’t send the horrid visitor packing. Her name? Ms. Self-Doubt.
If I could impress one thing upon young writers, it would be to believe in yourself. Believe you can do it. Now that’s not to say you don’t need to work at your craft. We all do. I’m sixty-two and still learning. That must never stop. But our belief system and our determination must be strong and enduring.
As writers, we’ll receive enough rejection letters to wallpaper the walls of our writing space. Rejection is part and parcel of the trade. Expect it. And with each one, know you are one rejection closer to success. Keep at your heart’s desire. Write. Read. But mainly, keep writing.
Within days after signing my contract, someone came knocking at my door. It was that nasty Ms. Self-Doubt. “How wonderful,” she oozed, “that you’ve finally gotten a contract. But, darling, I’m sure you know you only had that one book in you. How grand you got it written before dementia set in and you couldn’t recognize a noun from a participle.” I kicked the bitch out.
Then in a chocolate-powered female rage, I powered up my laptop and, pantser that I am, began my next novel: Paris, the Mona Lisa, an older heroine, a younger government agent and terrorists. Oh, and sparks, let’s not forget those sensual sparks.
Again, I stress the point: Believe in yourself!
Someone swaggered out of the moonlit night toward Rachel. Exhausted from a long day of driving, she braked and blinked. Either she was hallucinating or her sugar levels had plummeted. Maybe that accounted for the male mirage, albeit a very magnificent male mirage, trekking toward her. She peered once more into the hot July night at the image illuminated by her headlights. Sure enough, there he was, cresting the hill on foot—a naked man wearing nothing but a black cowboy hat, a pair of boots and a go-to-hell sneer.
Well, well, things really did grow bigger in Texas. The man quickly covered his privates with his black Stetson. Rachel sighed. The show was evidently over. Should she stand up in her Beetle convertible and applaud? Give a couple cat calls? Wolf whistles? Maybe not.
She turned down the music on the car’s CD player. Sounds of crickets and a lonely bullfrog in the distance created a nighttime symphony in the stillness of this isolated stretch of country road. Lightning bugs darted back and forth, blinking a display of neon yellow glow.
The naked man strode toward her car, and Rachel’s heart rate kicked up. Common sense told her to step on the gas, yet what woman wanted to drive away from such a riveting sight? Still, life had taught her to be careful. She reached into her handbag and extracted her chrome revolver. Before he reached her car, she quickly slid her gun under the folds of her skirt.
Just let him try anything funny—I know how to take care of myself.
Both of his large hands clasped his hat to his groin. His face bore annoyance and a touch of chagrin. “I need a ride.” By his bearing and commanding tone of voice, she guessed the man was used to giving orders and having them followed.
Her eyes took a slow journey across his face. Even in the moonlight, she could see traces of Native heritage. His shoulder-length ebony hair, too long for her tastes, glistened against his bronzed skin. Proud arrogant eyes sparked anger.
Because Rachel believed in indulging herself, she allowed her eyes to travel over his broad shoulders, muscular chest and tight abdominal muscles. She saw a thin trail of dark hair starting below his navel, knowing full well where it ended, and fought back a groan. Her eyes slid back up to lock on his. “You need a pair of pants, too.” Knowing her voice hummed with desire, she cleared her throat, hoping the naked man hadn’t noticed.
He looked up at the sky for a beat. “Just my freakin’ luck! A birthday party gone bad, and now I’m bein’ ogled by some horny kid with damnable blue eyes.”
What the heck was wrong with her eyes? She quickly glanced in her rearview mirror and saw nothing amiss. She narrowed those “damnable blue eyes” and sneered. “Look, buster, I’m not the one prancing around Texas naked as a jaybird. I’ll have you know I’m hardly a kid.” She glanced down at the black cowboy hat. “And, furthermore, stop hiding behind that big ol’ Stetson. From what I saw, a French beret would do the job.”
There, let the arrogant fool stew on that while he struted back to whatever rock he crawled out from under. She slammed her car in gear and sped off.
She swore she wouldn’t look in her rearview mirror. Nope, she would not look. Like a magnet emitting a powerful homing signal, her eyes slowly slid to the glass surface. He was standing where she’d left him, his Stetson tilted back on his head, his hands fisted on his narrow naked hips and his mouth moving. He was no doubt cussing her out.
A smile blossomed; a French beret would never hide all that.
Great excerpt, Vonnie! And a great heroine's name too ; ) I love that you chose self-doubt as a blog topic, I don't think I have had any author talk about this and it is SO important we get across to aspiring writers how it never goes away - EVER! I have written seven books and three novellas but each time I start something new, I am doubting myself. It wasn't until I accepted this was likely to happen every time, that I started to believe I can do it anyway!
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