Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Self-doubt—the Number One Offender

I have come to the conclusion that I am a real writer as evidenced by the self-doubt that began to creep into my mind last week regarding my abilities and this crazy career path which I embarked on over three years ago. An example of my writing malaise include these blogs, which I began writing three months ago and for which I told myself that I was running out of topics which might interest you. (The reality is that my muse always seems to provide inspiration at the last moment and especially during my morning meditation.)

Self-Discipline—the Solution

One must maintain self-discipline if they wish to accomplish anything in life and this is especially true when it comes to writing. Amongst the many inspirational quotes which I have posted around or taped to my writing desk is the following: Fabricando fit faber, which means “You sit your behind down in the seat and do it.”

The Universal Trait of Writers

Questioning one’s abilities and aspirations are pretty common in the writing profession. I’ve read many biographies of great writers like Twain, Steinbeck, and Salinger who also experienced their own dark moments of the soul. My own dark clouds of doubt first appeared at the end of last week as I sat down to revise a first draft of a new novel which I had converted from one of my screenplays. I just wasn’t feeling it that morning and decided to divert my attention to the business and marketing end of writing. So instead of adding some sensory descriptions and internal dialogue to this novel, I picked up the Writer’s Market and studied how I could further develop my platform.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

I can always find an excuse not to write including laundry, emails, or my favorite diversion of reading. I can also justify this by telling myself that research is, after all, part of the writing process. (I am, in fact, presently researching my next novel which is a historical mystery whose main characters are several Hollywood stars from the 1930s with a few Nazi villains thrown in.) While this is true to some extent, I usually save my afternoons for reading while devoting my mornings to writing.

An Antidote

The best way that I have found to counter these distractions is to shut off the internet and to place my cell phone in silent mode in another room. Sometimes I wish I could do the same with my head in order to counter the negative self-talk which wants to keep me out of my writing chair. Also adding to my self-doubt are the friends and family members who don’t really get what I am trying to do and will ask me when I am going to get a real job or go back to work. My answer is that writing is my real job and vocation.

An Epiphany

Most of the laity don’t understand what I do. They think I’m goofing off instead of working like them. This is especially true if a writer does not possess ample evidence of their efforts like a published novel. (I am working on this.) While I can’t control other people’s perceptions of what I do or make an agent love my writing and offer representation, I can control several aspects of my work life. I can continue to work hard at my writing while maintaining my faith that someday I will acquire an agent who will help me to become a published author. In addition, I can and will rebound from my little spiritual crisis and return to the workplace—my desk—just as I have done here this morning for the past several hours.