No matter how many times I write something that I then show to people, the feeling of butterflies in my stomach when experiencing their initial reaction never goes away. What if what I’ve written is rubbish? What if someone I respect hates it?
Self-doubt is a perfectly normal part of a writer’s make-up, that much I know. I’ve never met anyone who writes who doesn’t experience the same paranoia on occasion. For me, though, it applies just as much to the reaction of family and friends as it does to how professionals end up seeing it. Take tonight, for example. I finished a rewrite that I was later going to email through to someone, but first of all my wife read it. And while she was taking a look I was really nervous, because it was just as important to me – if not more so – that she liked it. I paced back and forth in the kitchen on the pretence of supervising the Sunday roast, thinking about the potential sinking feeling of disappointment to come, and so the relief when she came in and told me that she thought it was good (with a couple of minor reservations) was palpable.
Maybe this worry is a good thing, though. It would be terrible to always think that what I’ve written is brilliant, to delude myself into believing that I’m great. But I tell you this: I can make a blinding roast.