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Monday, June 2, 2014


By Caroline Clemmons

I am probably the world’s champion procrastinator. One of the reasons (or so I like to think) is that I’m basically a perfectionist. If I can’t do it well, I postpone it. Another of the reasons is that I have too much on my plate and simply can’t manage everything, so I do what I like best—write. When I sit down to write, though, what do I do?

You have it—I check my email, check blogs, Facebook, HootSuite, and my Amazon sales. Writing those first sentences each day is painful. I mean really painful. Can I do this well? Will the words come? Will the RIGHT words come? Will my family be proud of me? Will my fans like this book? What if I fail?

Imagine my petty delight recently when I learned that one of my all-time favorite authors, Loretta Chase, suffers from a procrastination problem. She is so successful that it never occurred to me she would have doubts. I often use her classic LORD  PERFECT when I teach online classes or give a workshop. Her descriptions are superb, her plots delightful. She never misses the mark.

My wise friend and author extraordinaire Jacquie Rogers says, "Don't compare, don't compete, and don't keep score." Yes, I know we are not supposed do any of those or to gloat over the misfortunes of others. I confess—I have sinned. Not that I wish Ms Chase anything but the very best, you understand. On the contrary, I hope she continues writing her wonderful books forever.
But I had pictured her blithely sitting down and painlessly pounding out her intriguing stories. When I learned differently, I shamefully reveled in the fact that she, too, has difficulty. If someone like her has trouble, then maybe I’m not as doomed and dithery as I thought.

I once heard Barbra Streisand in an interview say she still throws up before a concert. Imagine! Nora Roberts supposedly said she always wonders before each book if she can do it again. Who would suspect either of them having doubts?

The point of this is that all us so-called creative types have insecurities. When you read a book, keep in mind that the words on the page or e-reader involved sweat, fear, and desperation as well as creativity. The book represents an author’s heart and guts. Not all of us can be a Loretta Chase or Nora Roberts or Jacquie Rogers, but each of us authors is doing his or her best to entertain you. We love readers and we want you to love us in return.

We authors pour our hearts out for you readers, hoping against hope that you will love what we’ve written. Be gentle in your comments. Be kind in your reviews. And please DO leave reviews.

Sigh, maybe now I can write a few pages on my work in progress.  


P. S.  You can read Loretta Chase’s interesting interview here


  1. Caroline,
    You have made me feel sooooo much better about my self-doubts. I'm also one of those writers who would make any excuse not to put my butt in the chair, but once I do I find myself dropping into the fictional world I've created.

    Your writing, on the other hand, comes across as a beautiful, effortless piece of art. If you and Nora Roberts can do it, maybe I can too.

    Thanks for the pep-talk! I really needed it.

    1. Kathy, you are such a great writer. I don't understand how you can not realize that. I suppose it's part of our nature to have self-doubts.

  2. Wonderful post! I think all "creative" people suffer from what you described! Thanks for the encouraging "pep talk".

    1. Karren, you are a very creative person. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Wow. Yep. [head desk] It goes both ways, too. If I write something that's crappy, I think I'm finished forever. If I write something that I think is brilliant, I'm sure I can never do it again. We just have to keep at it, despite the negative self-talk.

    We sure would be angry if someone else talks to us the way we talk to ourselves, wouldn't we.

  4. Hey, procrastination and rationalization get me through the day. *lol*


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