I have. All the time in fact. It is one of the most frustrating things to doubt yourself and your abilities.
I have these stories and images in my head, but I struggle to get them to come out.
I still remember the first time I sat down to write, and how the story seemed to pour out of me. It felt so liberating, but then came that dreaded moment. The one when you realize that you have to go over what you just wrote. You have to analyze it to see if what made so much sense in your head sounds as spectacular as you hope it will.
The first time someone said to me..., "You have a great start, but I think you should write it again", well, that just about broke my heart. I was convinced that that person was a jerk. I told myself that I would never ask for their help again. However, once I pulled my tail out from between my legs, stopped crying, and punching my pillows long enough to stop and think about why they said such a horrible thing to me... I got it. He was right. He knew better, and more than that... he believed in me, and he believed that I could do it better.
Admitting that everything we put our blood, sweat, and tears into might need to be looked at from another view is sometimes one of the HARDEST things we as writers have to do. I don't like it. It does not feel good. It suddenly feels like you are pulling your feet through mud, not to mention that it just plain sucks.
I describe it as one of those moments when you hear someone in the room screaming, and then it is that horrible realization that it was you. You might even suddenly hate this journey that you have found yourself on, but that does not mean that you should give up.
Think about it... how many times did J.R.R. Tolkien write and rewrite the Lord of the Rings? He didn't get published until he was about 65 years old. My point is... that he did not give up. He did not give up on his dream of telling a sort of history that he always felt was missing. Maybe people thought him crazy. Maybe they thought him a fool. Maybe they thought he had no chance. It didn't matter. He did it anyway, and he inspires me.
J.K. Rowling received an insane amount of rejection notices. That is nuts. But she did not give up. Just look at what happened... many of us can label a huge chunk of our personal histories as the years we grew up with Harry Potter, the years we suffered with him on his journey to figure himself out, and just survive. There were many reasons we struggled to survive growing up also, but at least we did not have to do it alone. How brilliant is that?
I'm struggling to make my dream come true, but honestly, I don't regret the journey. I want to be on this path. I have wanted it for as long as I can remember. Do I want to quit sometimes... of course. Do I wish a good fairy would come down and make it easier... sure. Do I wish a wizard, wand and all, would come to me and gift me with a perfect, eloquent mind? Abso-freakin-lutely, but will that happen? No... If it could that be cool, but it is not going to happen, so I have to keep going.
So what do I do? What is my game plan? Well, I set aside time in the day to write, and maybe stare at the wall for an hour. I tap my pencil a few times (sorry I tend to be old school, at least for part of it). I gaze longingly out the window at the beautiful day I wish that I was doing... anything other than this in, and I tell the kids one more time to just give me just a few more minutes, and I do my best. I pull my feet through the mud. I bang my head on my desk. I cry for a little while, and then I start all over again until something comes to mind and makes sense.
Writing is not an easy process, and I don't think that ANY author would say that it was, even the ones that make it look effortless. So, I will just keep plugging away, writing and rewriting over and over until it all makes sense. I will slave over my laptop and try very hard not to drive myself absolutely crazy. I will continue to dream, and no matter how long it takes... I'll keep trying.
I just want to encourage you not to give up. It is is not an easy journey that we are on, but it is a good journey, one worth taking.
I would love to hear how you are doing? Write me... get it... write me. That is lame, but I would love to hear how you all are doing. Really.
Good luck my friends. May your muse be with you. (Sorry, I could not resist.)