Learning to Write Through Self-Doubt

I’m learning that resistance is most powerful at the finish line. The end for my first draft is in sight, I can see it, yet self doubt and other obstacles push it further away with each step I take toward it.

I’m almost there, but it’s as if fear of accomplishing this great goal delays my arrival. How can I be so close yet feel so far away?

I suspect it’s some form of insecurity. It’s the insecurity that drives me to perfect and revise and improve–it’s also the insecurity that drives me to discount and question the work that I’ve done. But there’s a benefit to realizing that I feel this way periodically and that’s knowing that the feeling comes and goes. No need to abandon the project and quit all creative endeavors because some creative demons are meeting their quota.

Though I’m currently mired in second-guessing, this too shall pass.

I figure that the important thing here is not to succumb to paralyzing doubt or think up some magical remedy for it, but to learn to live with it.

Recognize it, accept it, and adapt to it.

Much like how the character in my story is adapting to the problems I’ve thrown at him. Time to accept that I may never be overly confident about my work yet somehow I have to find the will to keep writing.

I have to stay committed. It’s the only way that I’ll get better.

That is, to write everyday. To write through the doubt. Even if I’m unsatisfied with every word I’ve written that day. Especially if I’m unsatisfied with every word I’ve written that day. Even if I see it as throwing words down a well because I’m fairly sure I’ll delete them all. It’s still momentum. It’s still an avenue that I can check off of the list of story directions if I decide to scrap it.

That’s how to take the power away from insecurity and doubt. By not letting it paralyze. Instead, I’ve decided to venture forth from my comfort zone and accept that 90 percent of my work is probably crap. I also accept that I probably can’t produce that shining 10 percent of good writing without wading through said crap. It’s not gonna happen by just sitting and staring at the keyboard.

With that said, I guess it’s time to put on some boots, grab some nose plugs, and wade through the crappy first drafts and crappy rewrites. Time to guide myself forward with the memory of confidence I had when I started this long project. The confidence of a novice who thought it’d be easy enough to turn pro.

Perhaps that transformation only takes place with a good amount of fortitude to weather the ebb and flow of inspiration and motivation.