When I was in college I thought I would make dinner for my family. It wasn’t anything fancy — just a pizza and I used Bisquick for the crust — but since Mom worked long hours and my siblings had sports practices that ran late I figured they’d love it anyway.
As it turned out Bisquick was (and still is) my culinary kryptonite. The pizza crust could have doubled for a paving stone. I followed the instructions to the letter and I didn’t over cook it. As far as I can tell it should have turned out perfectly. For that matter, nothing else I’ve made since with the product has turned out either. It’s still edible and the flavor is spot on. It’s just too crunchy for the experience to be enjoyable (and potentially detrimental to dental work).
Now I’m afraid to touch that defiant yellow box.
I have a similar fear concerning my writing. Not that the story won’t turn out right. Practice, study, and good editing will take care of that. No, my fear is that no matter how hard I try my writing will be mediocre.
Now I do realize that mediocre is a relative term. For some it might be the absence of awards and accolades. For others it might be that they can’t afford to quit the day job. I define it as being as unsuccessful as a writer as I am with Bisquick. That no matter how hard I study and fine-tune my craft my literary contributions will amount to a glutinous hocky puck that will be laughed about for years.
I want to be better than that and unfortunately only time will tell. There’s no way to safeguard against it. I simply have to practice, hone, and cross my fingers that this time it works.
So true. Every time I complete a novel, I face that same fear. Usually when I do the first readthrough, I’m anxious because I’m worried the story I wrote is nothing like the story I thought I was writing. Although I always find issues to fix, usually the core of the story is strong and that reassurance gives me the confidence to send it to my beta readers and ask for brutally honest feedback.
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