Playing whack-a-mole with my writing doubts.
Part 2 of 7 in my Diary of a Misfit Author series. Read Part 1 here.
There are things I know about writing because I’ve been practicing them for a long time. I know what works for me (love and community) and what doesn’t (beating myself up). But beyond those basics, there’s nothing special here. The truth is that I’m just a person who loves writing.
I work hard, but that does not mean that I have transcended the usual challenges.
Being a published author does not make me any less of a misfit, worrier, or time waster than anyone else. Most of the time in the real world, I feel weird, anxious, shy, and oversensitive. I worry about whether people want to read my book. And when I was writing it, I often thought, is anyone going to want to read this?
I worry about how much time I spend writing compared to other people. (Everyone else seems to be writing more than I am.)
I often worry that what I’m writing makes no sense. Or is boring/derivative/false.
I second-guess positive opinions on my writing. I worry that readers who tell me they love my writing are saying so because they don’t want to hurt my feelings.
I am, right now, worried that I’m going to ruin the paper in this beautiful perfect blank notebook by writing something terrible in it.
There are so many weird doubts that spring up in my mind all the time. It’s like whack-a-mole — I put away the one on my right and another pops up to my left.
I realize it is unlikely that I will ever be without them. I’ve waited for them to go away before — that didn’t help. It only created a long period of writer’s block. I’ve tried to fight them and defeat them, which hasn’t worked, either — they always win, and then I end up punishing myself for not being strong enough.
So how do I interact with these doubts? What works for me is listening to them, and then moving on and writing anyway, with love.
The Story Intensive teaches you how to do this, while also teaching you writing craft and technique. Practicing presence and technique at the same time makes writing feel completely different. It helps a lot with quotidian writing worry of all kinds.