I'm having a crisis of confidence in my writing. I'm wondering if I'm as deluded as those people who audition for the X-factor when they have voices like a gearbox crunching. Perhaps I have nothing to offer; no basic skills that can be honed to perfection; no originality.
It's the originality that's bothering me most. It doesn't help that I've read some superb novels lately, which have either been told with a striking voice or had plots that have hooked and amazed me. I have neither a distinctive voice, nor do I have any surprises up my sleeve.
I've nearly completed my fourth story for my year of stories. I've entered a competition a month so far (and a few extra) and am beginning to doubt that any will find success. This fourth story is set in a castle, and I've thoroughly enjoyed writing it. (Some of the other stories have been hard work. Some genres or lengths are outside my comfort zone).
As I read through it tonight, though, I couldn't help swooping outside myself and looking at it in a moment of objectivity (not entirely welcome objectivity). And it seemed predictable. I imagined the judge(s) with their sheafs of wonderful stories - some that were poorly presented, or badly written, some that were predictable as mine, and some that made them gasp, or laugh. And I can see that my work isn't standing out from the crowd. Maybe I am just too dull, personally, with my madding whirl of children and domesticity and career to produce anything with the sparkle and charge that I want to.
Perhaps you can buy sparkle on eBay. Will have to look into it. Meanwhile...I'l keep plodding on.