It occurs every time I complete a manuscript and send it out for comment. I can’t explain it. It just happens. I tumble into something I call "The Author’s Abyss", a sinkhole of self-doubt. It’s recurring epiphany I have that, in plain language, reminds me I can’t write worth a shit.
I realize the beloved project–my novel–that I dove into with such enthusiasm and optimism has disintegrated into something worthy of only a paper shredder. In the beginning, full of passion and fervor, I commanded, at least to myself, “Let there be light,” and a fictional world full of interesting characters and compelling stories began to take shape out of a formless void. Pulitzer Prize-candidate stuff.
But by the time I’d spread my incompetent hand over the dark waters, and sent my baby out to “finishing school” for critique and comment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt there was no Pulitzer in my future. Probably not even a cheap ribbon for participation.
H.W. “Buzz” Bernard is a best-selling, award-winning novelist. His novels include Blizzard (the most recent), Eyewall, Plague and Supercell. Buzz is a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science; he also studied creative writing. He’s currently vice president of the Southeastern Writers Association. He and his wife Christina live in Roswell, Georgia.