Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Slay The Doubt Monster?
"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." -- William Shakespeare
Welcome, Insecure Writer's Support Group!
Do you ever doubt your talent?
Recently, I was asked to be a guest judge for a contest over at Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing. (Awesome blog, by the way, in case you haven't visited yet)
I didn't jump at the chance and write the organizers back immediately. Why? Not because I didn't want to offer any help I could to other writers. No, I doubted my ability. I even wrote Martina back saying yes, I'd be happy to help, although I don't consider myself a strong enough writer to offer critiques. After all, I have so much to learn myself.
When I mentioned this to my super supportive hubby, this conversation followed:
Hubby: "Why aren't you qualified?"
Me: "Well, there are a lot of better writers than me."
Hubby: *feins shock* *both hands to his face, Home Alone style* *super sarcastic voice* "Why are other writers better? Because they have books out?"
Me: *sheepishly* "Yes, but..."
Hubby: *rudely interrupts* "You mean...like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Snooki? The Kardashians? They must all be better writers than you, because they have books out."
Okay, okay, I got his point.
Something we tend to forget is that even experienced, multi-published writers doubt themselves and their abilities. It's normal. Tennessee Williams once said, "I don't believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures and self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me."
If we're doubtful, maybe it's partly a good thing. It makes us try harder. As Robert Hughes said, "The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize."
Let's embrace our doubting inner selves and still be creative, shall we?
Tell me, do you doubt your writing abilities on a regular basis? How do you push past it and remain creative?