Even Jane Austen Suffered From Self-Doubt

Picture courtesy of quotefancy.com

Like many other writers, occasionally I suffer from self-doubt. I tried to think positive thoughts, tried to find encouragement, and did some research on the subject. And then I came across a quote about self-doubt:

“I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.”

I was surprised that this was said by Jane Austen, one of the most famous and most wonderful writers in English history – even globally.

I learned a lot from that quote: not only suffered Jane Austen from self-doubt – female authors are called ‘authoresses.’ *chuckle* I might be a little old-fashioned, but I somehow like it. Maybe I’m some relic from the 19th century.

But humor aside, like many other artists, I’m occasionally tortured by self-doubt. Am I good enough as a writer? Are my stories readable, are my characters likable? Am. I. Good. Enough.?

Of course, I would like to be a good author. I would love to have readers who fall in love with my characters and love my stories. But will that ever happen? I know, my book was read, I got reviews, and I know they liked ‘Soul Taker.’ But, what does ‘everybody’ else say?

Am I desperate to become famous? To be honest: no. I’d rather have my books and characters to be liked. I’d love people to say that ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series is a wonderful read.

I’m a person who, unfortunately, suffers too often from depression. I keep trying to consciously be aware of these weak times and pull myself out of them, as my Dad taught me, all these years ago. Self-doubt isn’t helpful in my case, but I refuse to drown in melancholy.

To read that even a fantastic writer like Jane Austen suffered from self-doubt in a way makes me feel sad for her, but it’s also a relief to find out I’m not the only one.

Do you suffer from self-doubts at times? If yes, how do you cope with them? Can you teach me a tip or trick to find my way out of them?


Picture courtesy of: http://www.biography.com

Jane Austen
(1775–1817)

Jane Austen was a Georgian era author, best known for her social commentary in novels including ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ and ‘Emma.’

Who Was Jane Austen?
Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. While not widely known in her own time, Austen’s comic novels of love among the landed gentry gained popularity after 1869, and her reputation skyrocketed in the 20th century. Her novels, including Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, are considered literary classics, bridging the gap between romance and realism.

Early Life
The seventh child and second daughter of Cassandra and George Austen, Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. Jane’s parents were well-respected community members. Her father served as the Oxford-educated rector for a nearby Anglican parish. The family was close and the children grew up in an environment that stressed learning and creative thinking. When Jane was young, she and her siblings were encouraged to read from their father’s extensive library. The children also authored and put on plays and charades.
Over the span of her life, Jane would become especially close to her father and older sister, Cassandra. Indeed, she and Cassandra would one day collaborate on a published work.

In order to acquire a more formal education, Jane and Cassandra were sent to boarding schools during Jane’s pre-adolescence. During this time, Jane and her sister caught typhus, with Jane nearly succumbing to the illness. After a short period of formal education cut short by financial constraints, they returned home and lived with the family from that time forward.

Literary Works
Ever fascinated by the world of stories, Jane began to write in bound notebooks. In the 1790s, during her adolescence, she started to craft her own novels and wrote Love and Friendship [sic], a parody of romantic fiction organized as a series of love letters. Using that framework, she unveiled her wit and dislike of sensibility, or romantic hysteria, a distinct perspective that would eventually characterize much of her later writing. The next year she wrote The History of England…, a 34-page parody of historical writing that included illustrations drawn by Cassandra. These notebooks, encompassing the novels as well as short stories, poems and plays, are now referred to as Jane’s Juvenilia.

Jane spent much of her early adulthood helping run the family home, playing piano, attending church, and socializing with neighbors. Her nights and weekends often involved cotillions, and as a result, she became an accomplished dancer. On other evenings, she would choose a novel from the shelf and read it aloud to her family, occasionally one she had written herself. She continued to write, developing her style in more ambitious works such as Lady Susan, another epistolary story about a manipulative woman who uses her sexuality, intelligence and charm to have her way with others. Jane also started to write some of her future major works, the first called Elinor and Marianne, another story told as a series of letters, which would eventually be published as Sense and Sensibility. She began drafts of First Impressions, which would later be published as Pride and Prejudice, and Susan, later published as Northanger Abbey by Jane’s brother, Henry, following Jane’s death.

In 1801, Jane moved to Bath with her father, mother and Cassandra. Then, in 1805, her father died after a short illness. As a result, the family was thrust into financial straits; the three women moved from place to place, skipping between the homes of various family members to rented flats. It was not until 1809 that they were able to settle into a stable living situation at Jane’s brother Edward’s cottage in Chawton.

Now in her 30s, Jane started to anonymously publish her works. In the period spanning 1811-16, she pseudonymously published Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (a work she referred to as her “darling child,” which also received critical acclaim), Mansfield Park and Emma.

Death and Legacy
In 1816, at the age of 41, Jane started to become ill with what some say might have been Addison’s disease. She made impressive efforts to continue working at a normal pace, editing older works as well as starting a new novel called The Brothers, which would be published after her death as Sanditon. Another novel, Persuasion, would also be published posthumously. At some point, Jane’s condition deteriorated to such a degree that she ceased writing. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, Hampshire, England.

While Austen received some accolades for her works while still alive, with her first three novels garnering critical attention and increasing financial reward, it was not until after her death that her brother Henry revealed to the public that she was an author.

Today, Austen is considered one of the greatest writers in English history, both by academics and the general public. In 2002, as part of a BBC poll, the British public voted her No. 70 on a list of “100 Most Famous Britons of All Time.” Austen’s transformation from little-known to internationally renowned author began in the 1920s, when scholars began to recognize her works as masterpieces, thus increasing her general popularity.

(Source: https://www.biography.com/writer/jane-austen)

Don’t Describe, Paint Pictures With Words

Picture courtesy of: https://medium.com/@Reedsy/30-inspiring-writing-quotes-from-famous-authors-ca601bfa5915

When I read this quote I ‘clicked’ immediately with these words; even more since I keep saying that I enjoy painting pictures with words. In my writing exactly that’s what I try to do, even though I’m not always sure it works the way I had planned it.

My back was turned to the door. While I waited for his return, I watched the sparrows playing on the fountain rim while taking quick showers in the droplets which sparkled in the bright afternoon sun.

seems to be better than:

I stared outside waiting for his return. The afternoon sun made the water in the fountain basin sparkle.

I would like the reader to see the sparrows hopping around, rant and rave at each other and still spread the feeling of happiness and joy.

I figure we all had looked out a window once when the weather was beautiful and saw some pond or fountain. Sparrows are almost everywhere, but most of us don’t see them anymore, maybe because they are ‘ordinary.’

Of course, this is only one example of many. I am fascinated by waterfalls in the mountains and I know I’m not the only one. But how many of us see the rainbow over the water in summer, how many see the snakes, turtles, and lizards which can be seen enjoying the sun while still trying to catch the droplets the waterfall bestows on them.

Many people like going for walks. But it seems to be very important to them to permanently stare onto their phones or have someone with them to talk to.

That way they miss the sound of Nature, they miss so many beautiful details.
When I go through the forest, I try to set my steps as quietly as possible as compared to breaking through the woods like a rhinoceros. I watch the sunbeams touching the moss between trees; I listen to the birds singing, I can see the finest art in the form of spider webs between the bushes (and yes, I walk around them. As beautiful as the webs are, the residents scare me to death).

I have the chance to see foxes, squirrels, and deer. One evening I had the chance to watch a huge owl feeding the brood, and I’m still honored to have had that chance.

All these details taught me how to see. And that is what I try to express in my books. Of course, I still work on it, and I’m sure at times it can be better. But I won’t give up.

How is your experience with descriptions and the painting of pictures with words? Let me know in the comments below.


Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born on January 29th in the year 1860, in the small seaport of Taganrog, Ukraine. He is regarded as one of Russia’s most cherished story tellers. He has produced some hilarious one-acts, but his tragic stories have gained him the name of being one of the major dramatists. Today, he is remembered as a playwright and one of the masters of the modern short story. He was the grandson of a serf and the son of a grocer, whose religious fanaticism caused much of his early years to reside under its shadow. While he was doing medicine in the University of Moscow, he began writing short stories. After graduating in 1884, he worked as a freelance writer and journalist related to comics. He used the money gathered from it to support himself and his family, and by 1886, he had gained wide fame as a writer. Chekhov’s works were published in various St. Petersburg papers, including Peterburskaia Gazeta in 1885, and Novoe Vremia in 1886. The Shooting Party published by him was translated into English in 1926.

In the early part of his career, he mastered the art of one-act and produced some fine pieces. In 1888, he wrote a story, The Bear, in which a creditor pursues a young widow, but later proposes marriage to her after being impressed that she’s agreed to fight a duel with him. In 1889, he wrote The Wedding, which also has a very nice story attached to it, and became an instant hit amongst his fans.

In 1886, he began contributing regularly to St. Petersburg daily Novoe Vremia and that was when he developed the style of calm writing. He was criticized by his opponents because his story lacked social commentary, but at the same time, he was praised by authors such as Leo Tolstoy and Nikolai Leskov.
In 1888, Chekhov was rewarded the Pushkin Prize and the very next year, he was elected a member of the Society of Lovers of Russian Literature. He withdrew from Literature and turned to Science for a while when his play, The Wood Demon failed in 1889. As a part of his doctoral research, he made a trip to the penal colony of Sakhalin, north of Siberia, where he surveyed 10,000 convicts sentenced to life on the island. During the latter half of the year, he traveled all over the word, including places as South East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Middle East.
In 1901, Chekhov finally married an actress, Olga Knipper, who had performed in his plays. On July 15, 1904, in Badenweiler, Germany, Chekhov died. He is buried in the cemetery of the Novodeviche Monastery in Moscow. (Source: https://www.famousauthors.org/anton-chekhov)

Martin Luther King jr. Day 2019

 

Honoring an extraordinary man

Each year, the Nashville Symphony hosts a special concert in honor of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Known as ” Let Freedom Sing,” this annual concert is free to attend and features the Nashville Symphony accompanied by adult and youth choruses drawn from the local community.
During the concert, the orchestra will perform an arrangement of classic pieces while photographs of the triumphs of the civil rights movement, provided by the Nashville Public Library, are projected on a large screen above the stage.

The concert will start at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 20, 2019, at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Although the event is free to attend, you will need to reserve your seats at the box office in advance; you can pick up your tickets starting at 4 p.m.

Martin Luther King jr. has left us many of his intelligent, spiritual, thoughtful and important quotes, worth memorizing. I picked the ones I thought are still valid now and fit into Martin Luther King’s time and again now.

I uploaded his famous ‘Dream Speech’ for you to read, if you find time. And see how many elements of that speech, held 1963, have still a huge meaning in 2019.

mlk-dream-speech

 


 

Writing Is Easy And It Is Hard

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

Neil Gaiman is right. Writing is easy – and it’s hard.

We writers have a story in our head, and we want it written. That’s what we love doing; the book is what we want to accomplish.

But there is so much more. The characters, the plot, the genre, the word count, the editing, the cover, the formatting, the copyright, the beta reading, the hope and the fears.

Many of us, I figure, have the same fears that I have: Is the story as good as I hope it will be? Could I have done better? What does the reader want? What do the readers say? How are the reviews going to be? Is the book the way I wanted it to be? Are my characters the way I imagined them? There are so many more questions my fear, right now, won’t release.

In many ways, our passion is easy: just a keyboard (or a piece of paper and a pen), and we’re on it. But still, it is hard work. Do we think about everything we learned? Is the story the way we had it in our head?

And the writing is only one part. The ones of us who planned to go the self-publishing way, our work only start started with the publishing date. The networking, the marketing, getting the word and the book out there.

I think I’m not the only one who would love to write, just write and write and write… but then, I want my stories to be read too. And when it comes to that, I need to get all this work done.

That’s the hard part for me. (Apart of all fears and nightmares, of course).

So, yes. Neil Gaiman is right. Writing is easy – and it’s hard.


Picture courtesy of: Wikipedia.com

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman, (born Neil Richard Gaiman 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films.

His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals.

He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. (Source: Wikipedia)

Ain’t That The Truth?

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

When I read this quote, I thought back to my life and was surprised I found nearly everything I thought “happened to me” that was painful, devastating, hard to take or heartbreaking (at least when it came to relationships) I had to go through all this to walk on a different path.
Most situations I was in, which I thought made me happy, were only a short illusion and neither one of them was good.

Now, each one of us, I think, has a different way to think “who” did change my/his/her situation. Some might think, it was ‘Karma,’ some may think it was, what it was, some may think, our life follows a certain path, and some others, including me, might think, God decided to show me a better direction.

One of my best friends once told me several times already: “God might have other plans with you.” And I think she’s right. However, it seems He’s quite busy keeping me on the path He has designed for me. My sense of orientation must be extremely lousy when He had to lead me back to the road ever so often.

I’m curious when I need to be saved the next time. But how do I know I’m going in the wrong direction, or I’m walking off the path that was created for me? Is this the ‘sense of life’ everybody speaks about? To know when to walk in the right direction, the one that takes you where you need to go? The one path that takes you directly to the Stairway to Heaven?

I sometimes wonder, what the future holds for me. But then: If we knew it ahead: Wouldn’t life be boring?


Picture courtesy of: https://www.insightforliving.ca/about/chuck-swindoll

Charles Rozell “Chuck” Swindoll (born October 18, 1934) is an evangelical Christian pastor, author, educator, and radio preacher. He founded Insight for Living, headquartered in Frisco, Texas, which airs a radio program of the same name on more than 2,000 stations around the world in 15 languages. He is currently senior pastor at Stonebriar Community Church, in Frisco, Texas.  (source: Wikipedia.com)

Discipline & Accomplishment

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

Reading the above quote, I was immediately thinking about how disciplined I am; and how disciplined I would like to be.

Me working in a full-time job, of course, I would love to have more time to write. Not that I never take time to. It often seems to me that I barely do anything else in my time outside the office, except working on one of my books. Either I write, or I type one of my drafts into the computer, or I edit, or I work on a copyright, a cover, or anything else that has to do with either writing or blogging.

There were so many days (and nights) I found myself in front of my computer at 2 am and realizing that I should have gone to bed three hours ago considering I have to get up and go to work sometime between 7 and 8 am.

Of course, when I get home, I have to provide myself and the cats with dinner, play with them, maybe have to clean at home, do laundry or get something else done that needs to be done in my daily life.

Occasionally there is just simply no time to do any writing or blogging. On a day like this, I find myself in bed, feeling guilty about neglecting my writing, pushing my passion and obsession to the very end of my ‘to-do’-list.

These are the days I feel I’m not disciplined enough to follow up and do whatever I can to reach my goal.

To this day I have no idea what more I can do to be more disciplined. A plan? A different ‘to-do’-list? I’ve tried it all. In the end, I just had to see: my priorities are set right. But once in a while, daily life needs more attention than expected. And no matter how much I love being a writer. I still need to have a home, pay my bills and get food on the table.

Sometimes I’m asking myself, what more can I do? And I wish I’d be wiser…


When I lately read this quote, I expected this quote to root in the wisdom of a successful and experienced man. And I was right. That’s why I tried to find out more about this man’s life.

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn (September 17, 1930 – December 5, 2009) was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.

Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn was born in Yakima, Washington, to Emanuel and Clara Rohn. The Rohns owned and worked a farm in Caldwell, Idaho, where Jim grew up as an only child.

Rohn left college after just one year and started his professional life by working as a human resource manager for department store Sears. From there he worked through different industries until the early 1960s when Rohn was invited to speak at a meeting of his Rotary Club. He accepted and, soon, others began asking him to speak at various luncheons and other events. In 1963 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he gave his first public seminar. He then began presenting seminars all over the country, telling his story and teaching his personal development philosophy.

He presented seminars worldwide for more than 40 years. Rohn also coauthored the novel Twelve Pillars with Chris Widener.

Rohn was the recipient of the 1985 National Speakers Association CPAE Award for excellence in speaking. He is also the author of 17 different written, audio, and video media.

Jim Rohn died of pulmonary fibrosis on December 5, 2009. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. (Source: Wikipedia.com)