Every summer, I attend UtopYA Con and this year they had a panel called “Dealing With Doubts As A Writer.” Which. Was. INCREDIBLE.
And in my case, much needed.
I’m gonna be real with you here: I’ve had some serious writer’s block going on for a good while now and that’s never happened to me before.
This season of chronic writer’s block kind of crept up on me and, until just recently, was really starting to freak me out. Like, holy-cow-I-might-need-to-rethink-my-career-as-a-storyteller-and-go-back-to-being-a-bank-teller.
But WHY? Why haven’t I been able to tell any of the stories racing around inside my head?
The simple answer? DOUBT.
I think we can ALL (writers and otherwise) relate to doubting ourselves in what we do. It’s a crippling obstacle, and it can convince us to give up. But overcoming the dreaded monster of doubt and marching forward despite any insecurities is easier said than done.
Doubt sucks. No matter who you are or what you do, doubt can creep up on you and whisper sweet evils in your ear about giving up. It can talk you into surrender or drown you in a sense of failure. It’s a plague—especially for us artistic types.
Because DOUBT IS THE DEATH OF CREATION.
It’s pretty much impossible to follow-through with your imagination when you’re second-guessing yourself every two minutes (trust me, I know).
I’ve spent the last 9 months doubting myself as a writer. And that’s not a fun place to be. Like, at all. I’ve been wracked with fear and insecurity. Fear that I no longer have the ability to write awesome stories, and insecurity about myself as an artist, as a wife, and as a mother.
It’s hard to find that sweet balance between chasing my dreams and succeeding at the dreams I’ve already caught (dreams like, you know, like being married to an awesome guy and having two super rad kiddos). I’m not good at balancing work and home, and I might never be, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to doubt my ability as an artist—which is exactly what I’ve been doing.
I’ve been so afraid of FAILING that I’ve gotten into this horrible holding pattern of not trying.
Has that ever happened to you? You get so terrified of not living up to your own expectations that you just sort of…give up? (Or in my case, stare at a computer screen for hours on end without typing a single word, and instead of DOING something about it, you diagnose yourself with a severe case of writer’s block and call it a day—or a month?)
Don’t get me wrong, writer’s block is a real thing. I just don’t want it to be a crutch anymore. Because that’s precisely what I’ve been using it as: A crutch—a reason not to work past my fears and insecurities in order to create something awesome.
So I’m trying. I’m pushing onward and writing down anything and everything that comes to mind. Most of it is crap, but some of it is decent, and everyday is better than the day before.
I’m getting my writing mojo back and I have YOU—my incredible readers, my priceless support network, my loudest cheerleaders—to thank. You believing in me gives me every reason to believe in myself. And that’s just what the doctor ordered.
Faith—in ourselves, in our work—is the only way we can truly fight off the relentless monster of doubt.
And I’m fighting. I really am.