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June 30, 2021

            Do you have self doubt about your writing?

            Are you wallowing in self doubt?

            Is your angst the motivation for your writing?

            Bla bla bla…

            I hear this a lot, you know where (the forums, of course), and while I should be more understanding, I also have a bit of wanting to slap these people on the side of the head and wake them up. Just a little, mind you, because while I’m not there myself, I’m not immune.

            It took me a while to get into my state of confidence, but my story may not be typical.


            I’ve probably never looked at writing the same way as most people.

            Because I was a failed musician, and I DO say that tongue in cheek, I needed another artistic outlet. I already had one, of sorts, with a scroll saw and wood, so I was not completely devoid of things to do. However, in the case of wood, I took already created patterns and simply transformed them to wood boxes since I had no other patterns to go by.

            Yeah, fulfilling for a new hobby to a point. It was, at first, a hobby that turned into a passion over time.

            Writing was different. When it came along around the same time as woodworking, I found it my true calling. It was something I had to do. Why? I guess I’d always had it in me since my first beginnings with the Polka Dot Sewer drawing. From there, mayhem ensued in many different ways. The only issue was that it never found the right outlet until the advent of the computer and keyboard.


            It was never that I had any doubts, in particular, it was only a matter of if I could really do it. When I whipped out The Cave, that very first novel, I knew right then I could do it. So, from that point on, I’d not only found my passion, but further mayhem ensued.

            This is where I had my only bit of self-doubt. Not in the fact that I could write, or create stories, but whether I could ever get published. Sure, I wanted to get published. However, with no writer’s group, no guidance, no mentors, I started the query process and of course, got rejected. As many of you know, even AFTER I got an outstanding mentor, two in fact, plus several writer’s groups, plenty of experience, and had accumulated two decades and 689 rejections, you’d think I had some self doubt.


            That self doubt came very early in the process and it had nothing to do with my ability to write.


            I never once sat and contemplated my navel, wondered why I should bother, why it was worth it to waste my time. Why should I bother writing anything? Why should I put two and two together. Everything I write is stupid. Nothing I write makes sense. I have no skill. I’ll never compare to so and so.

            In a nutshell, I didn’t care.


            I could call it whining, but I won’t because in a way, I’ve had small flashes of these same doubts for a brief millisecond. I know where some writers are coming from.

            At the same time, I don’t approach this passion in the same way as others do.

            First off, I don’t believe there’s value in suffering to get the word out.

            In the complaints I see, often it seems to me the writer believes you have to suffer for your art.

            Say what?

            Some people got into writing to have a creative outlet to substitute for some other issue they’re dealing with.

            While I have no issue with them finding a creative outlet to work through other issues, writing should be used as a positive force, not a negative one.

            I see a lot of real clinical depression come through with a lot of the complaints. This has nothing to do with the writing itself, but much deeper issues. Bringing this to a writing forum is the wrong place to go.

            Why should I bother.

            This is so hard.

            Every word I write seems stupid.

            While there are plenty of trolls out there to set them straight, and maybe they should be set straight, are we dealing with clinically depressed people? Who’s to say what the deal is?

            It also goes back to the old deal with people trying to get others to write their story for them. They want to write but don’t want to go through the effort to come up with something original. So, they throw it out to the community to make it up for them.

            What then?

            They now have a bunch of community ideas to choose from, if some of these schmucks are willing to give them away, then this guy or gal runs with it. They don’t own this stuff, the community does.


            Setting aside deep candyrock psychedelic profundities, a confident writer is not going to give a crap what other people think, at least not at the outset. I’m not talking a blank wall of supreme confidence. I’m talking someone who knows they can write, not perfectly, but knows they can concoct a decent story that isn’t going to be a nightmare to edit.

            A confident writer isn’t steeped in angst at every page, suffering for their art. They can sit down and hammer out their story and enjoy the process. While they may have doubts about getting it published, they don’t necessarily care. The whole point is to get the story down and worry about the nasty publishing part later. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.

            The confident writer may be an already successful one that’s published and has to make deadlines. There may be pressure to come up with original ideas that create self doubts at times, especially if the critiques of the books start to go down toward the negative.

            However, we’re mostly talking about the new or unpublished writers who are starting off, with small presses, or are self-published. YOU are the ones more likely with the most doubts, if any.

            Will people like what you do?

            Do YOU like what you do?

            You SHOULD like what you do. After all, you wrote it!


            All the navel gazing in the world isn’t going to accomplish anything if you don’t get the story finished.

            All the navel gazing in the world isn’t going to make the story any better if it never gets completed.

            All the navel gazing in the world isn’t going to satisfy you unless you stop it and either fix your mistakes, polish the work, and back away from it knowing you did your best.

            Happy writing!

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