When in doubt…

Doubt is a fact of life for all us, writers included. Writing is, by its nature, introspective. Most of us create alone. This opens the door for all kinds of insecurity to creep in and whisper in our ears.

Sometimes it’s as simple as wondering if I’ve taken the right road to my destination. Nothing looks like I imagined it would.

We question ourselves and anxiety rises. A cycle starts, first of doubt, then anxiety, and our wheels spin, digging us deeper.

After our fifteenth or fiftieth agent rejection, we think Maybe I’m not cut out for this. Sometimes this happens after our first rejection letter.

We meet an editor at a conference and he asks for a full manuscript. Then we never hear from him. After several months, we finally whip up the courage to send an email. And receive another rejection and another mound of self-doubt is added on.

Doubt can be condemning: This isn’t for me. I have no talent. I’m a failure.

Doubt can be paralyzing. In the middle of the creative process, we freeze up. What ever made me think I could write? I’ll never get published.

And the spiral whirls downward, pulling us to depths we never dreamed of when we sat down and typed Chapter One. Writing was supposed to be fun. Just crack my knuckles and start typing. Then we hit our first roadblock. The scene isn’t going the way we thought. The character is boring. I don’t even like my hero anymore. The plot is trite. Who will care about this story? Why bother? Glad I kept my day job.

These whispers of insecurity fill our minds, stopping us from pursuing our dream. The curse of doubt is normal. Our response determines if it controls us. Do we embrace it or fight it?

And how do we fight it?

For me it’s remembering what propelled me to write in the first place. The urge to tell stories that would both entertain and enlighten, that would on some level inspire my readers and give them hope for their own situations.

When doubts attack and insecurity rises, I recall this drive and rekindle it, and keep my fingers on the key.

How about you?

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