Wednesday 17 December 2014

My Own Worst Enemy

Looking at the words on my computer screen, I can feel defeat set in. Hot tears begin to pool in my eyes and the muscles in my spine slowly collapse. An eternal conflict between head and heart ensues and my breathing becomes short and quick. I hear that voice screaming in my head, "don't waste your time!" Yet my heart keeps tugging at me gently urging me to never give up.

Any writer will tell you this is a normal experience that is felt often, if not daily. Not only by the wanna-bes but the famous as well. Writing wasn’t something that I just decided to one day take up; it has been a part of my being since I was a young girl. Was it the romanticism of what I believed a writer was that drew me in or was it the overwhelming desire to create stories where readers could get lost?

There are days where I feel I am being pulled in a thousand directions; building upon one idea, coming up with another, moving to something completely different. So much to write about, so much to share and not enough time to get it all down. Hemingway’s words run through my mind daily, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." And bleed I do. Profusely. Yet I feel as though I have accomplished nothing. I don't have an agent. I'm not published. I write because it makes me happy.

Another quote I love about writing is from Anaïs Nin. "We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect". Her words excite me. It's a personal journey for me that allows all my senses ignite not once but twice. Yet I often still feel overwhelming self-doubt and want to throw in the towel every other day. Doubt is the enemy and holds fear in its hands. It can stop me mid-sentence and render my mind immobile. I sabotage myself and go to war with my psyche, inevitably believing that I will fail.

But the days in between that ugly cover of doubt are filled with big dreams and a general giddiness that accompanies a feeling of "I think I can, I think I can, I know I can and I will". When I sit in front of that blank sheet of paper, the possibilities are endless and creation is all mine. "A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God". Sidney Sheldon's words ring true. It's not easy being a writer and I truly believe that self-doubt, tears, anger and frustration help elevate us to heights unknown if we don't allow them to infiltrate every moment of our days. Let it percolate for a bit and then toss it aside.

All easier said than done, of course. I end up creating this story around me about why I am not good writer. I don’t have a Master’s Degree in English; I haven’t read all the books from literary geniuses; I am not as good as Mr. or Ms. “X” whose book is on shelf now; Rejection, rejection, rejection; It is so hard to come up with something new, everything has been done. These thoughts lead to my self-doubt and to behaviour that is often associated with someone who has given up. This WAS the story I lived and breathed on my days of doubt but it is not the story I WILL be part of. A good friend and fellow writer, who just happens to have two books published gave me some great advice. “Never compare yourself to other writers, only compare yourself today to the writer you were yesterday.” So my new story is I am better than I was yesterday and my words will be a dialogue with my readers one day.

I am sure that my days of self-doubt will continue to surface like an unwanted rash but I am also positive that my days of believing in myself will last for longer than an instant.

TALK TO ME! How do you push through your self-doubt and inner criticism? What tool do you use that helps conquer the doubt?

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