Why don't you trust our taste? Why do you keep seeking opinions of others in fear you're somehow wrong? "If everyone loves that book, why don't I like it? I should like it. Surely I missed something. There must be something there that ought to get me thrilled." But there isn't a thing and you push yourself to turn pages but you know you're not in it.
SET THE DAMN BOOK ASIDE.
I don't know how long it will take me to learn this lesson.
TRUST YOUR TASTE, KSENIA.
But no, I still doubt. My taste is what got me into this game, the game of writing, and yet I'm not used to trusting myself, I'm used to doubting myself since most of the things I remembered being done to me when I was a kid I had to discount to bad memory (as adults advised me), to making things up, to the curves of my brain not meeting quite right, and here I am years later battling this nasty habit of self-doubt.
The truth is, my taste is great. The truth is, my instincts are excellent. The truth is, this is what has me dissatisfied with my own writing. I know where I need to be. I know where I am now. I compare the two. I count how many years I've been writing, I see how far I've come, and I see how little this "far" really is, and I get disgusted and impatient and sullen.
The truth is, once I open a book to read I can almost immediately tell if it's good or not. Good for me. It might certainly be bad for someone else BUT IT IS GOOD FOR ME. And vice versa. It might be good for someone but bad for me. And something else. Often the books that are good for me ARE good for lots of other people. I tend to love books that have been recognized by many. When I do, I feel elated. When my opinion clashes with that of the masses, I feel scared and wrong, like I did some mischief and have to pay for it.
The day I will break this habit is the day I will soar.
Recently I picked up a book about a haunted house. I wanted to read a book about a haunted house for a long time. I was excited. I got bored on page 2. I forced myself to read to page 25 and then I couldn't read anymore. It was The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson. That's horror? It did nothing for me. Okay. I picked up the next one. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. At last! Here I was holding a gem! A book that topped so many horror reading lists! The opening paragraph gave me chills. THIS IS IT! Then it got tedious quickly, Eleanor driving around on her way to the haunted house for the next 30 pages, then the chapter ended on page 36 with another fantastic line and I put the book down. Why? Same reason. I got bored.
I'm terrified of this new pickiness I'm developing when reading books. More and more books end up on the reject pile and more and more I tell myself, TRUST YOUR TASTE. YOU'RE YOU AND NOT SOMEONE ELSE AND YOU HAVE TO DEVELOP THAT YOU AND NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ON DOUBTS.
Easy to say. I've been telling this to myself for years and still it's there, the lovely remnants of my magnificently gruesome childhood.
I'm almost scared now to open new books to read. There are almost 600 of them saved on my reading list which will take me 6 years to get through. I have once read an article by a writer, can't remember who it was, and they said how they hard it is for them to find a book that's entertaining. Is this a curse of all writers? I wonder. The better I get, the more demanding I get of what I read and the more often I turn to those whose writing I trust. I suppose that's how one becomes a fan, a valuable lesson here for us writers.
The thing is, I do want to read a book about a haunted house. I REALLY DO. A good one. Guess what I'll try next. Stephen King's Bag of Bones. Please, Stevie, please deliver. I know you can. I trust you. Tickle my spine and raise my hair and make my heart go thump-thump and my hands clammy. I don't even know if that house on the lake is haunted and I don't care! Just make it creepy!
This ties back with consistency, see? Remember that post I wrote about the consistency of your voice? Seems that churning out consistently good books is the ticket. Producing, producing, producing. With time people will look at you and scratch their heads and say: "Lookie there. She's not made of shit after all. She's not a flake. Hmm. I guess I'll stick with her. She seems serious, solid."