Thursday, February 14, 2013

On Doubt...

Written for a writing ecourse taught by Elora Ramirez (you should take it) ;)

Doubt /daʊt/  

v. to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe. to distrust.
n. a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.  distrust.

You can’t do it. What are you thinking? No one is going to read that. A writer? Really? It’s not good. It’s dumb. What you write isn't important enough. Hers is SO much better than yours. You know you’re not going to finish so why even bother starting? Just stop now before you embarrass yourself.

Did you think I was talking to you? Funny how the things we wouldn't dream of telling a friend, much less a stranger, are words we don’t even think twice about telling ourselves. On a daily basis. Constantly.

This is the third fourth attempt I've made at writing this. I still have no idea exactly what it is I'll say to you. What could I possibly have to say that would encourage? That would help you push through whatever doubts you're feeling about this process of writing. This process of leaving pieces of yourself on a page, and hoping like hell that you don't sound like a complete ass when you finally muster up the courage to finally do it. But when you finally do, you will be your own worst critic and the doubting voice inside my head will be the doubting voice inside your head. You will compare yourself to others who are writing similar things and doubt that what you have to say is as valuable, as worthy, as intelligent.

The sucky thing about doubt is even when not actively berating ourselves, the doubt is still there. A constant pulling at the back of your mind waiting to grab hold of the first positive thought, or idea, and yank it back into the mire of distrust and disbelief. It’s a living, breathing, writhing tangle of distraction and discouragement keeping you from doing, from being, from creating.

But, y'all, here's the thing. We all have doubts. Whether you've written 1000 words or 500,000 words you will continue to have doubts. Let me say that again. It doesn't matter how long you've been writing. It doesn't matter how many words you've written. It doesn't matter if you're writing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a play. Every single writer doubts their story. And if they say they don't, then they're flat-out lying.

So what do you do? How do you push through to do the work?

Surround yourself with like-minded people. I don't mean people who agree with everything you say, or people who even necessarily have the same beliefs as you, but people who are walking the path you are. People who will encourage, empathize, and even tell you you're crazypants. I have a tight-knit group of indie author pals whom I dearly love that I'm in daily contact with in one form or another, and it is essential to my creative soul. You guys have that now with this class. Hang on to that, because no one will understand that side of you as well as another writer.

Go to a conference. Seriously. Here you will once again be surrounded by like-minded people, and be energized, and filled to over-flowing. This happened to me last year at the UtopYA conference in Nashville where author Myra McEntire shared her story and this...

You are uniquely you, and no one else can tell your story the way you can, so keep writing. You can do it!

What doubts are keeping you from telling the story you should tell? Write them down and share them with your group.

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