I’m a Fucking Good Writer

I rarely reread what I’ve written. After going through all the drafts and the revisions and publishing process, I will hate the book and I won’t want to see it again for awhile. Eventually I do reread, and this week I reread my Putting the Fun in Funeral. This was a gift book. That means that it came easily and fast and was like a gift from the universe. I loved writing it and I loved the book after. Rereading has not diminished my love of it.

What surprised me as I read it was me thinking, wow! This is really good. Wow! I’m a good writer. And eventually I got to “I’m a fucking good writer!”

As a writer, this is an unusual state of mind. Generally we feel like crap writer frauds who will be discovered at any moment. We are embarrassed to acknowledge our achievements because they aren’t that good or they are awful and what is wrong with you readers who like this drivel???

Recently I reread something else I wrote and felt absolutely awful. It was good and my reaction was that I couldn’t write like that. I couldn’t begin to hope to write as well as that. Apparently I figured I’d already written all my good words and now I was a hack. Now it’s not unusual for people to compare polished, published books by other people to their drafts and decide they are crap writers, even though, once again, they are comparing a POLISHED and FINISHED book to a ROUGH DRAFT. Yes I did feel the need for caps. Writers do this all the time. I felt really stupid doing that with my own finished and polished novel, yet that’s exactly what I did and I felt awful.

Claiming your talent, claiming your abilities and acknowledging you are a good writer is tough to do. It feels like bragging and it feels like arrogant asshole behavior. And yet–writers need to get the word out that their work is good and worth reading and that they are fabulous writers. We need to be proud of ourselves and we need to voice that pride.

So here’s your question: when have you encountered imposter syndrome? What did you do about it, if anything? And what can you do today, right here, right now, to beat down the imposter syndrome? What will you do going forward?

As for me, I’m just going to say this: I’m a fucking good writer.

Also, that’s my doodle of a corgi boy.

9 Comments

  • Mitchell Stewart

    Yes, you are a FGW, and _Fun_ was one of your better if not best pieces (but I am still hoping your muse will lead you back to Crosspointe). I will say that I never did get into the Diamond City series. Started out ok, and as usual there was an interesting, sometimes, compelling narrative line, but the characters didn’t start as strong out of the box as say in _Fun_ and more critically didn’t evolve as well. But, the point of this note is not to critique your work or pieces of it, but rather to confirm your self-discovery: you are a FGW, and I look forward to your next demonstration of that wonderful reality. Oh yeah, and nice doodle of the Corgi. I’m an Airedale person, but my business partner down in Arizona adores Corgis, Bostons, and Border Collies. All good.

    Best Regards,

    Mitch

  • Di Francis

    Thank you, Mitch! You know, I’ve started a Crosspointe book a half dozen times and don’t like where it goes. I want to go see if time has helped me figure out the block. Interestingly, a friend and I were talking about writers whose reader won’t follow them to other series because they love a particular book or series by that author and don’t want anything else. I really appreciate that you stuck with me and even if you didn’t like DCM, you tried another. Thank you!

    And now a dog wants to play tug o war with a rubber chicken.

    Di

    • Mitchell Stewart

      1. On Crosspointe: Three books, three different narratives. Of the three, I found Margaret in the _Hollow Crown_ to be the most interesting and compelling, but I liked the overall narrative and structure of the world. If you were ever able to return to Crosspointe, however, Margaret would be _my_ preferred point of departure;

      2. Diamond City: Not finding it your “best” for my tastes does not mean it’s not good nor that I would not readily pick up and read ensuing books. I own the entire series, and I’ve read them more than once.

      3. Everyday Disasters: Ok, if your Muse isn’t resonating with Crosspointe, where is she on _Disasters_. Strtictly for laugh out loud entertainment along with an interesting narrative, the “first” book in the series was for me the most appealing, even more so than Crosspointe.

      Bottom line: I read all of your stuff — even read your dissertation; all of your stuff is not equally appealing to me, but I never finished one with the mental comment of “this sucks”. Your writing style overcomes even the stories that I find least interesting — again, in terms of my interests. Moreover, while my tastes really are fairly catholic, I find well drawn strong female characters particularly interesting, and you’re quite good at that.

      Oddly enough, however, I think (personal opinion, of course) that female authors have more difficulty drawing such characters than some male authors — Eric Flint in his 1632 and related alt-histories comes to mind (a particular interesting off-ramp are the three novels by Gorg Huff and Paulette Goodlett staring Miroslava “Holmes”), and, of course, David Weber in the Honor Harrington universe. And, I really like J. A. Sutherland’s Alexis Carew though like you he seems to have hit a writer’s wall lately. Among women, Lindsey Buroker is always fun, but her characters are generally variations on the same theme. By contrast, I think Lois McMaster Bujold does better with her male characters, especially, of course, Miles (who really does overshadow Cordelia though she clearly was very strong in the early books before Miles comes along) but lately in the exquisitely drawn Penric & Desdemona series. Elizabeth Moon isn’t writing any more, but her stuff in both fantasy and hard science fiction was to my mind always excellent with remarkable female characters. After that, hmm, the quality gets more erratic with some strong starts that sort of tire out over the course of the novel and certainly over the course of a series. Which goes to the larger point, aside from your being a FGW, what you do — being a FGW — is really hard, and particularly hard to sustain across different worlds, generes, and characters.

      Well, that’s more than enough of my editorializing on my tastes and on my enjoyment of your writing. Now, it is time for you to put aside the rubber chicken (I do not want you to imagine what Max would do to a rubber chicken; not a pretty picture), and start a stern conversation with your Muse so you can get back to work on something, anything. Fall arrives, Winter beckons, and I imagine I am not the only one in your audience awaiting patiently (not!) for your next gem.

      Best Regards,

      Mitch

  • Peggy Molloy

    Diana you definitely are a FGW and I always look forward to new books from you. I love your series books. I cannot tell how often your books have helped me escape into another and decompress after a day at work. I just retired from a forty year career as a Registered Nurse. In my first three years I was terrified most of the time. I was sure that I didn’t know enough to be allowed to take care of patients. If I hadn’t been a single Mom and needed the money I probably would have quit. And then one day I realized that newer nurses were coming to me with questions. An older nurse gave me an opportunity to enter a specialty in nursing that I loved and she mentored me. Finally at some point I realized I really did know what I was doing. I went on to have a wonderful, interesting career that was not tradtional. Along the way I mentored other nurses. And now I am going to go curl up with a book and tomorrow I am going continue packing to move to my new home where I intend to enjoy my retirement near my grandchildren. When you have doubts just look at what you have accomplished and know you can do it as long as you want to and dive in.

      • Peggy

        I am moving from Virginia, near DC, to Pasadena, California. I grew up in Cali but have spent most of my adult life in Virginia. My daughter spent her childhood in Virginia and has ended up in California. The circle of life. I am looking for forward to move! A new adventure in my senior years!

  • Aly

    I make jewelry, with lots repurposed odds and ends. I enjoy it, but there are tons of makers in the world and it feels like most play with jewelry too. So it took me a long time to call my work art, after all I was self taught and just playing for my own amusement… except people kept buying my work. Sometimes right off my body! I finally decided that it was rude to under value myself when so many people were saying that they liked my work.
    I am fully aware of my limitations, but that doesn’t mean I don’t bring joy to others. So I decided to embrace it. It helps looks back on the progress I’ve made and seeing how far I’ve come from the early pieces. (Which are terribly embarrassing now- however they served their purpose and I am grateful.)

    My introduction to your work was the first Magicfall tale, and I am anxiously (but still patiently!) awaiting a sequel. I love the world you made, and as a frequent visitor to Portland, I adored reimagining familiar places! I am currently trying to read my way through your catalog, and agree that you are a very good writer indeed. Thank you!

    • Di Francis

      Hi Aly~ Do you have a website? I want to see your jewelry!

      Did you know that Magicfall started with the Horngate books? I’ve got a bunch of ideas rolling around in my head for a new Magicfall book. Not sure when I’ll start on one. I’m going to finish the Diamond City Revision and then hopefully do one or two Everyday Disaster books. Covid has turned me into a much slower writer. I’m hoipng that I can find a groove where I write a whole lot more and sustain it better.

      So…what’s your website? Inquiring minds want to know!

      Di

  • Di Francis

    Hi Aly~ Do you have a website? I want to see your jewelry!

    Did you know that Magicfall started with the Horngate books? I’ve got a bunch of ideas rolling around in my head for a new Magicfall book. Not sure when I’ll start on one. I’m going to finish the Diamond City Revision and then hopefully do one or two Everyday Disaster books. Covid has turned me into a much slower writer. I’m hoipng that I can find a groove where I write a whole lot more and sustain it better.

    So…what’s your website? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Di

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