Monday, January 14, 2013

Liz's Lair: Slaying The Doubt Dragon

Geez! Is it just me or is 2013 really flying by? I looked at my calendar, and I’m already 50 pages behind schedule on book 2 of my ghost series — which brings me to the topic for today.

How in the world will I ever make book____(fill in the blank) as good as book 1? HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE is so fresh, I know I will never be able to capture that magic again.  Surely, I'm not the only author who freaks out over stuff like this, am I?

I wrote LIVER LET DIE, the first book of the Clueless Cook series, after getting a contract on a proposal. I knew my editor liked the premise and my writing, but I was positive she would hate the finished project.

I was wrong. She loved it. If you think the doubt bugs were bad at first, it was like they were rabbits and doubled overnight — maybe even tripled. Now I had to write book 2 of the series, and when I asked her if she wanted a synopsis or three chapters, she said I was under contract and should just write the book.

Crap! How in the world would I ever write another book as good as the first one? As usual I procrastinated and ended up in panic mode — apparently a favorite place for me to be. I held my breath until her edits came. Again she loved it.

I began to get a little cocky at this point, and really procrastinated on book 3. I ended up writing 80 pages in 10 days. For those of you who know me, you’re probably wondering if I was on speed. I never write more than 25 pages a week — ever! The edits for this one were more involved than the first two, as it seems I got a little too racy and too dark for cozies. Both were easy fixes, but my little bubble of self confidence splattered like a water balloon thrown from the second floor window.

Hello, I’m Liz, and I’m hopelessly needy.

I began to doubt if I was really a cozy writer after all. Remember the editor had fallen in love with my mainstream mystery series (the one debuting from Midnight Ink on May 8) and she asked if I could write a cozy series. With this self doubt threatening to choke off the air that I breathe, I didn’t know if I could write any more cozies. (I am almost finished with Chicken Caccia-Killer, book 4.)

When the reviews came in for book 3, I was amazed. Although MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT is a little darker than the first two in the series, reviewers seem to like it. Matter of fact several have gone as far as to say in their opinion it’s the best of the three.

So what’s the matter with me? Why can’t I slay the  “I can’t write another good book “ dragon?

Help me out here. Tell me if I'm a cuckoo bird all alone with this syndrome, or if I’m just a normal writer. I remember listening once to a New York Times bestseller speaking one day, and she said that halfway through every book, she decides she needs to send the advance back because the book sucks. It made me feel better knowing a bestseller had the same self-doubts that I do.

So what I want to know is if you find yourself doubting your ability as a writer after being somewhat successful with a first book. If you’re a reader, tell me how you overcome self-doubts.

On a good note I just read a good read review tonight that said:
A funny, fun mystery. Fans of Janet Evanovich should give this series a try.

Woot! I have to admit that did make me smile. For one day at least, I’ll believe I just may be a decent writer.


Barbie Jo Mahoney said...

Liz, you always make me smile! I love your writing AND your blog posts!!

Those dragons always seem to be in front of me, too. I know I'm a good writer, but the thought of someone out there not liking's so easy to take that personally, and you know we can't. Just like many things, writing is subjective. Those who love you will continue to love you. Those who don't might give you another chance, but if their still not "with you", then it's their loss.

Your books ROCK. Hence the reason why you're to be published by 2 (yes, count them) different houses!!! I'm soo thrilled for you and so proud to know you!

Now...if you would just stop procrastinating, those who love you wouldn't have to deal with "Panic Mode Liz". :-) The thing is, you pull it off!

There is no doubt in my mind you will continue to crank out the stories you love so that others will love them too!

Liz Lipperman said...

Ah, Barbie, you are so loveable. I'm going to be the little engine that can!!

Hello, I;m Liz. I am a really fast writer!!!!!!!!!