A: It's all about the progress. For a really long time I thought I sucked and probably should just stop writing, and then I started realizing that I'm supposed to suck. That's how you learn. You learn by writing terrible things and then looking back and saying, "Wow, that was terrible. I'm never writing that again." It's basically all one giant learning process. Once you accept that, it all gets much easier. That's how I look at it now, and I feel a heck of a lot better about my writing. The next thing you write will almost always be better than the last thing you wrote, in one way or another.
So sometimes I have downright awful chapters, and I feel really embarrassed about them. One thing doesn't work right, and that just throws off the whole balance of the chapter. If it's the rough draft, then I just make myself leave it and move on. I can go back and fix it later--the future things I'm going to write are much more important than what I'm writing now. It will only get better. You can take what you learned from those really awful, embarrassing chapters that make you cringe and make sure you never ever do that again.
I know my writing has drastically improved over the past six months or so. Sometimes I read it, and I think, "Yeah, you know what? This isn't even half bad." And I don't mind saying that, because there is no denying it's better than what I was writing a year ago. It's all about the progress. If you can see legitimate progress in your writing, then you shouldn't feel all too bad about it.
There's one other big component to writers' self esteem that I should bring up. Comparison. I'm never going to write suspense like Stephen King. I'm never going to write with the perfect balance of humor, profoundness, and tragedy like John Green. But I am going to write in my own weird way that has its own unique style that adds something new to the writing world that they couldn't have without me, and that's pretty cool. Don't write in the style of someone else. Don't compare your writing to someone else's. You are not them. So don't try and be them. Comparison will make you feel like absolute crap.
There is really only one time comparison is okay. And that's asking yourself if you're better than Stephenie Meyer. The answer is always yes.
Well, there you go. Five paragraphs of stuff you've heard a million times before. Those are just my thoughts.
Q: What's been your most recent source of inspiration?