Your Writing Matters: How to Banish Self-Doubt, Trust Yourself, and Go the Distance
Colleen M. Story
Midchannel Press (2021)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (01/2022)
I’m writing this review from both a reader standpoint and a writer standpoint – so you get the best of both worlds. Writing novels for over 25 years now, there are too many days to count when I was faced with writer’s block, self-doubt, worry, and the feeling that I most likely did not have enough talent to pen the instructions on a microwaveable meal, let alone the next literary blockbuster to hit the shelves. Along the way, however, I came across a book by Stephen King called “On Writing,” which helped me a great deal. Decades ago, this master of horror – a name everyone knows and one that generations follow no matter how old he gets – wrote about a wall he had that was covered in rejection letters from publishing houses. When he had about two “squares” left, he finally received a deal for his first book. But, up until that point, he went through every depressing emotion a writer can face during their early years, so to speak.
Now, out of the blue in late 2021, I receive this book. And, I have to say, this particular woman gave instructions, presentations, and emotions—both professional and personal—that will no doubt help all writers out there continue on their quest, and not give up just because they’re having a bad day. From a reader’s standpoint, I must say her words and direction gave me insight into how difficult it would be to write and choose it as a career to pay the bills. From the author’s standpoint, she did a fine job by taking the book in a new direction and offering up information on how to create characters and their stories, as well as entirely imaginary worlds that could appeal to all the book lovers out there. Now, that’s important. After all, if J.K. Rowling had stopped because she convinced herself she wasn’t cut out for this, we would have never seen Hogwarts. And THAT would have been a huge shame.
This introspective story is split into sections, with an exercise for the writer at the end of each that offers up questions and answers. No, there’s no boredom or “textbook” analogies in here; it’s written so that the author having trouble can reflect and mull over what this woman wrote and, hopefully, increase their skill and enthusiasm on days when the energy level is definitely waning.
With the primary focus being on fiction, I can see where it would also help those on the side of non-fiction when it comes to gathering motivation to make their books, blogs, etc., reach a wider audience. And, surprisingly, Colleen Story also showed the physical and mental health benefits that come from writing and conversing with those out there who truly love to read.
In the end, like King’s aid from decades ago, I feel Colleen Story has put together a resource that will help many writers trust themselves more when sitting down to create and keep them writing even on days when they simply want to forget the whole thing. With so many discouraging things in this world to read about, hear about, and view on television, it’s refreshing to have someone write something encouraging nowadays. Perhaps Ms. Story will be responsible for extremely great books appearing in the New Year!