And once again I will note that it is rare that someone starts an lj post like that and it turns out that "the thing" is that everybody feels fine and happy and I think I'll go for a walk.
-- taking Sunday off is good for me. It's good recharge time. I seem to have a choice between writing eagerly for six days a week or writing ploddingly for seven. (I can do eagerly for seven for a few months at a time, but eventually, kerthud.) This seems like a reasonable choice. Other people get days off from their jobs.
But on my days not-off, when I ask myself, "What the hell am I doing here?", the answer is, "I am writing!" And this is a fine answer, and then I go back to doing more of it. Rah.
On my days off, sometimes when I ask myself, "What the hell am I doing here?", the answer is, "...." I mean, the answer is still, "I am writing," but after that things get a little shaky: this writing, is it going where I want it to go? Is it doing what I want it to do? Are the places I want to go and the things I want to do going to be good to want in the long-run? Or is there a different spot where the mortar of this particular brick wall is perhaps a little more cracked, a little weaker, a little more receptive to my skull? Am I using my strengths? Am I trying to strengthen my weaknesses?
These are good questions to be asking. They are not the same as, "Do I suuuuuck at this?" Sometimes, if one is excessively clever, "Do I suuuuuck at this?" can masquerade as a series of reasonable questions. I'm not saying I am never excessively clever in that direction. But it's one of those cases where the existence of writerly angst doesn't invalidate the question of whether a specific work or set of works is any good in a particular way.
And the thing is, it's very easy to get cheerleading from good friends. You say, "I am afraid that I suuuuuuck at this." And they say, "No! You do not suck!" And then everybody is happy. Or if they are very articulate, they say, "No! You do not suck! Here is what I read and why it is non-sucky!" And then everybody is still happier. And I do not want to belittle articulate assurances of non-suckage, for they are greatly valuable, and indeed sometimes they are what keeps us going.
But if you're asking yourself if you're going in the right direction, or if you're improving a particular weakness, or whatever with the work you're doing currently, references to past work don't help all that much. Only time helps that. Time or, I suppose, having someone read the current draft as it stands, and I am allergic to having people read more than a few sentences or (at most) paragraphs at a time of a project that has not cooked fully. It does not motivate me. It makes me want to hide under the desk and only talk to my grandmother, who never has had any interest in speculative fiction of any kind for its own sake and never will. And as much as I love my grandmother, I'm rather fond of people who aren't my grandmother as well, so. Here we are, and if any of us are psychic, it's in the wrong direction for this particular problem. But tomorrow it won't be Sunday any more.
And it's snowing now, and that makes my heart happy in ways I can't fully explain. So there's that, at least.