Someone asked recently what I thought was the hardest part about writing. Honestly, sometimes the hardest part is the actual writing. Why is it so hard? Fear. It’s fear of Not Being Good Enough. I have a habit of composing brilliant scenes in my head that never come out quite right when I type up the words. I’ll send a chapter through my critique group who might like it and offer some good suggestions for improving it further, but when I sit down to work on my edits the only thing I can focus on is the quality of the writing because to me, it falls short. I’m probably my own worst critic. Even when I think something is initially good, that doubting monkey on my shoulders whispers, “But it it’s not good enough. It could be better.” And thus begins the downward spiral of not being able to write because it will never be good enough and if it’s not good enough should I even try?
Well, I try because I’m compelled to write. Other writers understand that feeling. I have to push aside the doubting monkey (don’t worry, no animals are actually harmed) and tell myself that it may not be perfect, but yes, it’s good. My publisher thought so. I have readers who think so. So I just have to push through the doubt and keep on writing. I’m not sure there’s any other solution than that. Write a paragraph. Repeat, until you have written a page. Then repeat again.
My five-year-old has been talking about what she wants to be when she grows up. (For the record, it’s currently a teacher, a princess, a ballet teacher, and a princess teacher. I’m sure pink will be involved.) She asked me what I had wanted to be when I was little. I’ve wanted to be an author forever. When I told her this, she looked at me and said, “And now you are.”
Yes, I am an author. It’s still an amazing feeling. I hope I can keep on doing it.
Do you ever feel this way about your writing? What are some of your tips for working through writing doubt?