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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Doubts

I experienced some doubts about my book project yesterday. Is it going to be any good? Will anybody by interested? Isn't it too much like my next-to-the-last book all over again? Do I know enough about everything I'm writing about? Will I get it published?

So I had to analyze what was going on. First of all, doubts are normal. If you never have any doubts then there is something wrong, because you have no way of correcting and anticipating problems.

When I thought about these doubts, I realized that this book is very different from The Twilight of the Avant-Garde. There is very little overlap. I realized that some chapters would be more interesting than others, that I was doing some exciting things for myself as a writer. (My experiments with the classic style.) I also realized that a project that is further along can often seem less exciting.

I think the doubts were there to counterbalance the excessive enthusiasm I get sometimes, when I think I have written something very good. Right after i experience those doubts I suddenly got another really good idea. I was back to my manic self.

1 comment:

Andrew Shields said...

I remember a Stanford professor asking a roomful of freshmen if we were nervous about the exam the next day. "Yes," we cried. "Good," he said. "That's part of the ritual."