Every book has it. It usually hits me around chapter 7 and holds on until chapter 9 or 10. It's the 'I suck' section. That place in the middle where I think I'll never get this book, these characters or the plot right. It's where I think I've dropped so many threads someone could knit a sweater. It's where I think I'll never make it to the black moment because right now I can't even remember what that's supposed to be. I HATE the 'I suck' section. And yet, I go through it every single time.
You'd think I'd be prepared for it...but each and every time I hit it I'm surprised. Maybe I think this time it won't happen because I'm better, I've learned more, I understand this story better. More likely it's just a part of my process that I'll have to learn to live with.
What I wonder about is whether this is a direct result of my panster status. Do I hit this wall every time because I don't really know what's going to happen next? I mean, sure, I have a synopsis but I hardly ever follow it to the letter. Maybe that's my problem. It's right about this section that I find the characters have veered me off into a new direction and I can no longer follow the road map that I had written out. I always find that the new direction is the right direction...I just no longer know where I'm heading.
Eventually I get through this. I always do. I take a few days to enjoy the headlong rush into the ending which is always so much easier to write. And then I often find that when I work back through the book the middle wasn't as terrible as I thought. Sure, it needs work - everything I write does. I am not perfect. But it isn't the load of stinky cheese that I first thought it was.
Are you a panster or a plotter? Do you hit the 'I suck' section? How do you handle it if you do? If you're a reader, do you ever struggle with doubts about your ability to do something?