So I was reading Maggie Stiefvater's blog last night. She always has great advice, but this fabulous post about how to start writing a novel really hit home. It's supposed to be for those people just starting out, but I found it amazingly helpful even for the more "seasoned" writer.
You see, in some ways writing never gets easier. It's like this perpetual cycle of beginning from scratch. What you learn from book 3 may not work in book 4—in fact it might even RUIN book 4 and you'll have to rewrite large chunks of it. And then when you start your next project it's the same thing.
New story. New characters to figure out. New plot to construct. New ways to screw it up. New problems that require different solutions.
That's not to say writers don't grow and improve from practice. I'm just saying those feelings—of being overwhelmed, of not knowing how the story goes, of worrying about messing it all up—that happens to every writer with every book. And like she said, "real" writers push through it and finish the dang book. Then a lot of time goes into revising the mess.
As far as I can see, these feelings are fairly universal among writers both new and old, published and unpublished. Starting a novel is just plain hard. In fact, sometimes I wonder if it gets even harder as you go because you know that much more how big an investment it will be (often with little pay off). Try starting a book with that mentality and see how far you get, heh.
But if you want to write, sucking is part of the deal. I have to remember this constantly. I keep thinking that if I write long enough I won't make mistakes, but it's just not true. There will always be things to fix, stuff to learn.
We writers? We do hard things. We push forward when we don't feel inspired. We work when we want to play. We try when it seems like it'll never work out. That's how it goes.
But never fear, you have the whole of the writing community to comiser—I mean, uh, celebrate the joys of writing with. I think that's why, for the most part, we are very nice, understanding people, if I do say so myself.