Something has been bothering me lately. I’ve tried to deal with it and keep it from causing too much stress, but it crawls in my head somehow and nags at me from the darkened shadows of my mind.
Its called doubt.
And its evil!
It can start out as the tiniest speck, a piece of dust you think you can just blow off. But unbeknownst to you, it has planted itself in a secluded spot in your brain and is silently growing. Before you know it you have a whole head full of negativity bursting at the seems to tie you down and hold you back. It’s a writer’s nightmare!
Even if you aren’t a writer you’ve still probably experienced it at some point in your life. It can happen to anyone at anytime. It’s not a rare occurrence, either. For me, though, it is becoming more of a struggle to tame this demon of mine.
I try to fill myself with positive influences and mantras that strengthen my resolve and boost my motivation. This works for a time, the demon is quite. But it always comes back. Sometimes it reappears as a roaring beast eating away at my creativity, other times it is just a small voice whispering of skepticism and apprehension. Either way, it is quite destructive.
But I refuse to give up this battle. I will not allow it to win and take away my dream of being a published author. I realize that this path I have chosen requires hard work and continual improvement of skill. It takes sacrifice and determination. All of which I am willing to do. It also takes thick skin and a fierce will. There will be harsh reviews that will bring down my spirits. There will be not so kind words that might even bring a tear or two. But I know that these things will only make me stronger. They will only push me to do better.
So why is the seed of doubt blooming in my thoughts and dreams? I don’t think it has anything to do with the path I’ve chosen, but more about the daily obstacles I have to overcome to get there. These are things we all must face, the day job, the finances, the needs of the family versus your wants, the random willingness of your muse to coöperate, and finances – yes that one deserves a second mention! Let me not forget that little demon voice whispering in the back of my mind “What if my writing sucks?” or “What if no one likes this?” All of these things tend to make me wonder if I truly have the time or the “umph” in me to get to the finish line.
This is when I take a step back and I go back to basics. First, I talk to my biggest supporter, my husband. He always knows how to make me feel better, even if all he does is give me a huge hug and tell me he loves me. Second, I look to my friends who never fail to offer a smile and a laugh. Thirdly, I look to other writers and authors for advice and inspiration. Last, but probably most important, I write. I don’t write for acknowledgement or advancement in my novel. I don’t write to get accolades from others. No, I write for me. I write to express my feelings, to get it all out of my system. I write to really see what the deep down root of the problem is and to find a way to solve it. I write to make me feel better. And it always works.
It does something else too. It gives me a better sense of myself. It reminds me that I am a writer and will always be a writer. That is not something that will change, nor do I want it to. It tells me that writing is in my soul, a part of who I am. And knowing this, remembering this about myself, gives me the strength to get through all the daily challenges and all the frustrations. It brings back my motivation and my excitement. It tames the grisly beast of doubt and reinforces the desire to reach my dreams. It allows me to tell myself with confidence, “I can do this. I will do this.” Because I am a writer.