If a writer as good as Ian Rankin thought he might not be good enough to be a successful writer, it should give hope to the rest of us when doubt strikes.
There are few writers who have not found themselves in the dismal position of being forced to produce endless rewrites.
Now Ian Rankin has revealed how, early in his career, he disowned his espionage thriller Westwind because he had been made to rewrite it so many times that it did not feel like his own work – to the extent that he was “starting to lose belief in my abilities and doubting my future as a publishable writer”.
Out of print since 1990, this “lost thriller” is now being republished with a new forward by the best-selling author of the famous Rebus series after “several aspects” of the original story were changed.
Sometimes people who achieve success can appear to have done so with ease, but the reality is often a tale of false starts and setbacks with perhaps a bit of good luck.
The fact that a writer as accomplished as Rankin had doubts shows this is a state of mind that will occur to most people, whatever they are trying to do.
And this is a demonstration of the importance of holding onto hope in the face of adversity and of helping others to do the same.