A reader on GoodReads just sent me a lovely note, describing my books as “fiendishly addictive.” I love that.

I was contacted recently by a university student who was working on a paper on historical mother-daughter relationships. She wanted to consult with me about Josephine and her daughter Hortense, which I was happy to do. She introduced herself, saying, “At one time, I’m sure I was your youngest fan.”

She was only ten when her drama teacher gave her The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. This was before Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe, the second in the Trilogy, had even been published, and she made her mother drive her to Barnes & Noble three times, hoping that it had been released. 

Such testimonials are important to a writer — every writer — because of the common writerly affliction “Itotallysuckitis.” (Thanks to Therese Fowler, who didn’t coin the phrase, but passed it on.)

Author Carleen Brice wrote an excellent post on dealing with this affliction for Writer Unboxed: “Writing through doubt.”

I recently started reading Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields. Is it an early sign of Itotallysuckitis that I’ve gravitated toward this title?  

There are degrees of Itotallysuckitis, of course. At worse, I become convinced that the novel I’ve been working on slavishly for four years is unpublishable.

Right now, for me, it’s more the feeling of facing a humbling yet exciting challenge. I’m fine with that: it’s one of the things I love about writing. It’s never going to be rote, or easy, or assured. It’s always going to take me into new realms. 

I’m reminded of a photo of Sarah Waters’ office. Note the poster on her wall: [Stay] calm and carry on. I think “Carry on” is an excellent prescription for Itotallysuckitus.

Do you suffer from attacks of Itotallysuckitus? What are your remedies? 

{Image at top: “The Sick Girl” by Michael Ancher, 1882. The photo of Sarah Waters office is from the wonderful Guardian series, “Writers’ rooms.” A Google search of Itotallysuckitus will bring up a number of references.}

I’ve two interviews on the lovely on-line magazine, My French Life: Part One and Part Two. I think they did a great job. (If you’re a Francophile, contact them. They’re looking for people to interview.)

Yesterday I spent hours struggling with DropBox in order to get files from my excellent Sandra Gulland Ink typist Ed, in Romania. (I love saying that.) Now I have the files on my computer and only need to organize and proof them. Poco a poco!