Saturday, March 26, 2016

#2 On weathering self-doubt

Soon after my last post I began to research.

I googled "blogs on how to write" and poured through their contents.

The more I read, the more overwhelmed I became.

Finally, I had had enough. My brain was short-circuiting with information overload.

I shut the laptop and took off on a walk. Frustrated.

As I stormed the forest trail, my thoughts became deluged with doubts as muddy as my shoes. What the heck are you thinking? You've never been successful at any long-term writing stints before, what makes this one different? You're not like those other successful people. It isn't too late to take it all back. You're making a fool of yourself.

I pursed my lips and kept going.

It's never going to amount to anything, my brain continued.

I didn't try to counter it. Instead I let it roll like a good friend letting another get a rant out of their system.

Why would anyone want to listen to you, anyway?

I grit my teeth.

Eventually, the flurry had spent itself, and I continued on in peace for a bit.

Then, more thoughts surfaced.

Remember that one person that said you're an amazing writer?

...and how that other person went on and on about it?

A fleeting smile graced my lips.

And how good it feels to publish a piece you're proud of?

Now my mindset was beginning to shift, and I realized something: everyone who's ever successfully earned a living with their writing has stood in my shoes. They've doubted themselves. Felt overwhelmed. Undervalued their work. Faced logistical issues. Risked flopping.

I'm not alone.

In fact, experiences such as this are practically a rite of passage in any artistic pursuit!

My pace relaxed, no longer frantic. I've got this. It'll be okay.

Then it occurred to me, if I feel better reminding myself that I'm not alone in experiencing these things, wouldn't others too?

Words soon began flooding my brain so quickly I rushed to return so I could put them down here.

To anyone out there starting this journey who gets smacked in the face with huge pile of doubt, frustration, logistical difficulties, whatever...YOU'RE NOT ALONE. I'm right there with you fighting those same battles.

And y'know what? I think I'm going to make it.

I think you will too.

Because I want this, and if you're reading this so do you. I want it so bad that even though I felt completely done with writing work for the day, at the end of my walk I wanted nothing more to do than to come back here and write more. I was drawn to do so; it felt almost painful until the words came out.

I can't help it. I'm a writer whether I want to be or not, so I figure I may as well get good at it. If these phases of self-doubt and feeling overwhelmed come with the territory then I'll just have to get accustomed to weathering them.

I'm not alone. You're not alone. We can do this!

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