Observations. I only have this. When the writing goes well, all else goes well. Each day of writing brings struggle, but when my characters all move, when the tiniest detail brings a scene to life, when I cry or laugh along with my characters, when I know with the deepest part of me that this story has value, then all else goes well.
And yet, how I shiver with the slightest criticism. I wonder if all writers suffer this way with doubt and indecision. On those days, I'm lucky to get over 100 words done, my characters seem like cardboard, and I wonder again and again where the story is going. Yes, I have a synopsis (not updated yet). Yes, I have back stories. Yes, I know this story as if it happened to me, even though it's set in mid-19th Century.
On those bad days, I settle within and try to listen for the threads of the story. Time runs out. I study writing techniques and try to apply them. I read research, and for the highlight of the day, take a walk with my husband. And all is well. The sun comes up in the morning, and suddenly, the story flickers to life, and I'm off again.
But even the lightest criticism nearly stops me every time. I'm just about ready to start posting some parts of my draft online for feedback, and I wish I didn't dread it. And yet, I want to look into the mirror. I want to know.