Delve into my imagination

Look in the Mirror

There are times when you have to step back and look at yourself: your self-image, your mental abilities, your confidence.

Self-evaluation.

In the world of selfies, where people post images with captions, “I look like hell,” but post them anyway, it makes you take a closer look at self-evaluation. If you really thought you looked like crap, you wouldn’t post them. Obviously the poster likes the way they look, and then I wonder if they have a higher opinion of themselves than they should.

Wow, Erica! What a horrible thing to say!!!

Bear with me, here. I’ll get to my point shortly.

Anyone who has paid attention to my postings in the past month or so, knows I’m rewriting my Mistress & Master of Restraint Series- FROM SCRATCH. What a humbling, crippling experience. So I will explain my self-evaluation and a false sense of confidence comment.

Erica has taken a step back and did some major self-evaluation these past few months. In the now, you feel great about yourself: I look good. I feel good. I’m smart. This book is fabulous. Right? Isn’t that how you feel when you look into the mirror of yourself?

A few years ago, I was a bigger girl, and I felt confident about myself. I thought I looked good. (Now, don’t go tar and feathering me, as if I’m saying my size was a reflection of me as a human being. That is NOT where I’m headed with this blog post. I’m long-winded, I’ll get to the point eventually.) Anyway, I was a size 18/20 and quickly gaining ground on the next size up. At the time, I was working on changing my life, all aspects. So I lost weight, dropping down to a 10/12. Yay for me, right? Not really. Because there is fallout from that as well. You start to feel shitty about who you used to be because you still feel like shit now. When I look at pictures of myself- new pictures- I think I look bad. So then I start to question my own sanity. I thought I looked good in images from several years ago, several sizes larger, yet now I feel like crap when I look at myself. Was I thinking clearly back then, then?

My entire life I’ve thought myself as intelligent: quick to learn knowledge that I easily retained. Smarty pants. Know-it-all. With the mistakes I’ve made in the past, where I objectively look at my actions and reactions to the stimulation around me, at the time I felt I was making the proper decisions. Now I think I was a flippin’ idiot.

A stupid, stupid girl.

Stupid girl.

Stupid.

With the M&M rewrite has came a LOT of fallout, especially to my confidence in all things. In order to grow in my craft and as a person, I had to admit defeat. I had to recognize my faults. I had to take the bitter consequences of my actions. I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, “You suck. You f*cking suck, Erica!” Then, and only then, could I move on.

This new humbled, self-effacing person is now indecisive- demoralized. With my confidence destroyed, laying amongst the deleted words of my manuscripts, my world view has shifted.

The Erica from the past thought herself smart, average looking, and confident in her abilities to do her job. The Erica from the present disputes those claims as she cleans up the messes from the past Erica. The Erica from the future is shaking her head, clearly disappointed, and she’s shouting, “Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t make me redo your work because you’re an idiot. Don’t make me stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I suck. I f*ckin’ suck!’ Don’t make me clean up your messes because you had a bloated self-image!” 

Yes, future Erica is a bit pessimistic and bitter, while past Erica was naive, and present Erica is just… resolved.

Where does this leave me, present Erica?

Rolling along, doubting myself, because the past predicts the future. The Restraint I’m writing today (from scratch) will be a Restraint I’m proud of today. But I fear that future Erica will be embarrassed by it, and will want to go back in time and kick my behind. Just as present Erica longs to do to past Erica.

As I go back to Restraint, where I’ve deleted 3 out of every 4 words and replaced them with new, I know I can only do what I am capable of as of today. Tomorrow I may be better. But when it’s all said and done, Restraint will be a reflection of who I am today, and future Erica will have a different reflection of herself within a new book. But for the past Erica’s honor and reputation, present Erica and future Erica have joined forces, refusing to allow their naive, younger self to be demoralized and humiliated.

I’m sure I will doubt myself next week, next year, a lifetime from now. But that shows the ability to recognize my faults and grow. If I truly had a bloated self-image, I’d destroy myself with my narrow view. The only thing I have in common with future Erica, at this time, is the fact that my world view is 360 degrees.

3 responses

  1. Teresa

    I’m probably going against the grain, but as a reader, I enjoy participating in the evolution of an author. I don’t expect first novels to be perfect. I expect an author to hone her craft, to strive to learn from her mistakes, to improve her writing fluidity with each new addition.

    Erica, I know you’ve wanted to go back and rewrite Restraint for some time, but, in my opinion, you didn’t need to do so. You have built your fan base as you’ve evolved and I can honestly say you had me hooked from the first chapter of Restraint. If it wasn’t for Restraint, I’m not sure I would have found your other books.

    Simply keep learning, keep improving, keep writing more stories. I’m tempted to say “learn from your mistakes”, but you didn’t make mistakes. You wrote a story at a certain time in your life and your life experiences and imagination shaped your story. A few years later, your life experiences, imagination (and your body?) have changed, so your stories will reflect those changes.

    If I was as eloquent as you, I would be able to say it better, but the best I can come up with is: You are on the journey called life. Don’t stop, don’t backtrack, keep going forward. Your readers can’t wait to continue that journey with you. Call me crazy, but I want the next installment in the series so I can see what happens to those crazy people created from your fertile imagination.

    October 23, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    • WickedWriter

      I will say there has been one unexpected element to the rewrite, I’ve been plotting more of Hero & Empowered (Kat #3) as I’ve been writing Restraint, as well as outlining changes for Unleashed.

      I definitely needed the refresher, for sure. I will be outlining future books as I rewrite the others, especially Grant’s & Marcus’.

      I also made myself a promise. I will never, ever release a book unless I think it’s worthy (at the time), and then I will never, ever rewrite it when I deem it not worthy in the future.

      I’ve learned a valuable lesson, for sure. I’m pleased to have reconnected with my characters since I had such a long hiatus during the Blended writing.

      October 23, 2014 at 9:58 pm

  2. In your past you had some difficult things to get through. Give yourself some credit that you did get through it and came out wanting to learn more. You want to improve yourself which is the first step. I hate to be cliched but think of a butterfly or a young chick coming out. Not sure at first but gaining confidence. I think you are not repeating your mistakes but learning from them.
    I agree with Teresa about your evolution as a writer. We all learn by doing. You are perfecting your craft every day you work on it. Your writing was the best you could do at that time. Look at the hundreds of hours you have spent working on your craft. I would hope you would improve upon your earlier works. I just don’t want you to castigate your former writing/books thinking you wrote terribly then. You did your best then and now you will do your best & it will be better because of what you have learned about your craft & yourself. Keep writing & we will keep reading.

    October 25, 2014 at 2:42 pm

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