The Writer’s Angst

0511-1103-0212-0510Angst is a powerful word. I prefer it to worry, anguish or torment. It sounds like a word that belongs to the struggling…you fill in the blank. I can’t use angst to describe my emotions when I write. That word belongs to much loftier writers than I will ever claim to be. James Joyce was the king of angst. He spent days anguishing over just the right word for his sentence.

Regardless, I do suffer from angst, not while I write, but the minute I type The End. Angst attacks and invades my brain like a possessive demon. I totally fall apart. First, my angst questions the worthiness of my manuscript. It’s not good enough. No one will read it. Trash it, all thoughts that rage in my head. That’s when I turn to my critique partner who assures me that it’s great. Not great, as in the next great American novel, but great enough.

My next bout with angst comes when I submit my first three chapters to my publisher. Four weeks after my submission, I expect to hear back asking for the entire manuscript. I have a timeline. If they don’t meet it, I’m thrown into the depths of hell. “I knew it. They hate it,” I wail to my critique partner. An entire week of cake and cookies has passed, feeding my angst. I finally get the request for my manuscript, only to have angst strike again when I think they’re going to pass on publishing my work. I hate that phrase “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to pass at this time.” Does that mean they’ll take it next week? My angst doesn’t end until I have the contract in hand.

It’s over you say. No. It’s only begun. My next bout begins as soon as the final edit is returned to the publisher. I’m beginning to hate this book. Marketing…this is where angst grows to mammoth proportions. Selling myself is not high on my like-to-do list. I feel like a prostitute beating my drum for readers. I won’t even say it’s limited to Facebook because I’m all over the place. I stand on the corner of Twitter and WordPress if anyone’s interested. I do everything that’s required. I attend book signings. I tweet. And I blog. All creating greater angst.

And then, we have the rankings and reviews. Hours, days are spent dissecting these dreaded author haters. I stand in judgment as they strip me of my confidence. It’s only when I get a good review that I can raise my head and stare the beast in the eye.

The worst is when a friend or family member informs me that they’re reading my book. Angst goes through the roof when I hear this. I feign a contagious disease to avoid the holiday dinner. Anything is better than listening to them dissect the book I bled over.

Writing is a roller coaster of angst. It’s a good thing I like the word.

First published on Southern Writers Magazine: Suite T


Book cover 9313 029Patricia Hudson was born in Wales, U.K. As a young girl she moved to America with her family and currently resides on a small horse farm in central Illinois, with her husband, David, two dogs, and her beloved quarter horse. She has written seven books: Stolen Hearts released in 2013. The Call, Love on the Double T, Love’s Deception, and The Exchange to be published in 2014. Also in production are The Circle, and Jana Morgan, PI. Join her on Tweet on
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It’s Time to Fess Up

I have owned horses for eighteen years.  I have loved them, cared for them, bred them, and comforted them as they passed from this world. Horses are who I am. I am also afraid of them. You read it right. I’m afraid of horses. I know you’re shaking your head, but it’s true. I’m afraid of horses.

I guess the key here is that I love them more than I fear them.

You’re a writer. Isn’t it the same for you? You love writing more than you fear rejection. It’s the beauty of what we do. Love pushes us further than we would dare to go without it. We’ll climb the mountain, jump off the cliff, run into the burning building, run the marathon, all because we are passionate about what we do. We conquer that demon called fear.

It’s a gift, the ability to conquer our demon. Without it we would sit on the sideline cheering on those who dare. We don’t always think about it. We take three deep breaths open our laptop and press the keys. Sometimes the demon sneaks in and whispers in our ear. “You’re wasting your time. You could be doing ………fill in the blank. No one is going to want your manuscript.”

But you love to write more than you fear rejection. You plunge ahead with the story you love. You’re filled with joy as the story progresses. You fall in love with your characters. You dance when it’s finished. You edit and polish and edit and polish and you send it off to the publishing company or agent. You love to write more than you fear rejection.

Casey and her foal

That’s how I feel about horses. The fear is there when I walk into the stall with the mama and her foal staring me down.  The fear is there when I wonder if either will hurt me. The fear is there knowing they may reject me. But love pushes me on.

How do I describe the feeling when the foal takes that first step toward me, then runs back behind her mama’s legs to hide.  Her little face peaks out and eyes me. Her curiosity kicks in. And then a second step and a third until her sweet little muzzle is buried in my hand.

I love horses more than I fear them.

I love to write more than I fear rejection.


Stolen Hearts

Release in 2014 by SoulMate Publishing:

The Call

Love on the Double T

Moody Gallery

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