Monthly Archives: August 2014

Doubt

mysterybookWhy is it that self doubt is one of the biggest things that we struggle with as writers? Writing itself is an isolated activity seldom done in groups and we reluctantly share only after we have polished and polished our WIP. No one gets to see the agony of getting words down on paper (screen?) when each one feels like it’s being sucked out of mud and splattered on the page, dirty and inadequate, when nothing we what to say comes out right and every piece needs to drafted again and again.
Each time we look at it, we see it’s imperfections and want to draw it towards us and hold it fast and never let it go for others to examine and criticize. And yet we do. And we feel the agony of having those words exposed, muddied and sub-standard in our eyes and available for everyone to judge and criticise.
We are either mad or passionate, whatever, we keep on doing it. And every time I being out a new book, I still expect people to jump out at me like school-yard bullies and declare “You can’t write for toffee nuts!” And a part of me would believe them too.
I think that’s why we hanker for the publishing contract, the agency representation, the positive review, something, anything that validates what we do, and conversely why a scathing review is so crushing.
Like any artist, we have to believe that what we are doing has merit, that our words, no matter how inadequate they may appear, still need to be written. That someone, somewhere will take to heart what we want to convey and give praise, or just acknowledgement.
And yet we still doubt, even when acknowledgement is given, when awards are won. I believe it is this that keeps us striving for perfection and is something that is necessary for each writer. For the moment we fail to perfect what is imperfect and lose the passion to improve ourselves as artists, we will henceforth be satisfied with imperfection.
So maybe doubt is a good -isn’t it?

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