Self-doubt + Crazy + Fear = Writer

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One more week …
 
I think I am going to die.
 
Seriously, what kind of person would do this to herself? Who in her right mind sets the goal to finish a book in two months with three children, a job, and every major holiday of the year in the way? Really, who?
 
A crazy person, that’s who. Yes, I believe I am calling myself crazy.
 
The truth is I don’t know if I am going to make it, and it is driving me insane. I think my level of stress just went up the roof and I feel like the end is never going to be here. One more week. I don’t know if that should make me feel better because it’s just seven more days, or worse because it’s just seven more days! I only have five more chapters to revise, three of which I know only need minor fixes. The other two, will kick my behind though.
 
I don’t want to do it. No. That’s not true. I want to do it, I just I don’t want to have to do it. Because let’s face it, I have to. If I don’t, I know I’ll regret it. That’s why I think writers are crazy. The more I think about it, the more I truly believe we are all a pile of hopeless masochists.
 
Three hours later…
 
Well, now that that’s out of the way let’s explore the real problem we writers eventually face:
 
Self-doubt.
 
See, the thing is, everyone, writer or not, can relate to self-doubt in one way or another. Last night as I lay in bed mulling over my previous crazy tirade, I had a eureka moment. It helped me regain some of my perspective and desire to finish my book. Self-doubt is a natural part of the human condition. We are imperfect human beings. Fear is in our DNA, whether we like it or not. But as human beings we also have the power to control our fear and self-doubt.
 
Some time ago I read somewhere that thoughts are powerful (forgive my ambiguity here, I just can’t remember the details). I believe this is true. But I also believe actions are more powerful than thoughts. We may feel fear and self-doubt have us in their claws, but we still have the power to do something about them, even if we think we can’t. The sooner we do something and take action, the sooner that fear and self-doubt will become powerless against us. I wrote a post about engaging with our own fears a while back. Maybe it is time I take that advice and apply it to other detrimental emotions.
 
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
 
I have to confess something. I have dropped this project twice before. I became so overwhelmed with my own feelings of inadequacy that I let those emotions dictate my willingness to finish. I tried to convince myself at the time that if I didn’t take a break from the book I would drag the entire file to the trash bin. Well, I am not doing that a third time. I owe it to my book, to my characters, to myself.
 
I can’t back down. Not now.

 

Have you ever experienced self-doubt in your writing endeavors? What helped you regain perspective? Share in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Self-doubt + Crazy + Fear = Writer

  1. I can somewhat relate to this, though I am not a fiction writer (the stuff I write is tech and professional related non-fiction) but the same issues pop up all the time. For me, I’ve discovered that the more frequently I write, the more items I get to draw upon for my deliverables. The worst thing I can do is wait for inspiration to strike. Gerald Weinberg has written about this in his book on writing and calls it “Fieldstoning”. The idea is that we collect at frequent levels, so that, when it comes time to build our wall, we already have everything we need. Doesn’t make it any easier, or remove the self doubt, but I find that the more fieldstoning I do, the less time I have for self-doubt. take that for what it’s worth (and really, if you haven’t read “Weinberg on Writing”, I highly recommend it 🙂 ).

    • Totally agree with you. We can’t wait for inspiration. It’s a matter of consistency. I have not read Weinberg on Writing, but it sounds very instructive. Will definitely look into it. Thanks for the recommendation!

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