5 Thoughts That Cripple A Writer: So Stop Thinking Them!
(Then teach me how to do the same.)
(And afterwards, write a more inspiring blog post than this.)
- I probably have blinders on, and my writing actually sucks. This one is simple. It’s the, “maybe I stink but can’t smell myself” issue. The solution is to get readers and feedback, yet that’s harder said than done, and I’m not always sure I believe my readers, especially those who are also friends. I have not done a great job of selecting beta readers or CPs in the past, which really concerns and further deters me when it comes to trying to find new ones.
- It doesn’t matter if anyone else reads my work. I could just write for myself. Right? Definitely! Only not, because everyone needs feedback if they want to improve (and I do). Also, deep down inside, I don’t want to only write for myself. I mean, I can and will do that, especially if there’s no other option, but that’s really only what I say to myself to justify a failure to put myself out there.
- I made all these awesome writing friends, and now I’m too afraid to ask for help. Because I’m afraid they’ll hate my writing and they’ll never want to read for me again, which burns a bridge (potentially forever). PLUS: I read all their awesome work and admire them so much that I feel I don’t compare. Then I worry they’ll find out I don’t belong in their cool kid’s club, so even though I have a pool of helpful people at my fingertips, I share nothing with them. Ever.
- What if it’s never good enough? There’s definite merit in the idea of never giving up, working towards your goals and dreams, and improving your craft. I think everyone can improve and grow as a writer. I’ve seen myself do just that all year long. However, while I think everyone can and should reach for dreams, I don’t believe everyone has what it takes to make it to the top. Call me a realist. Call me cynical. I’m not saying I’m giving up or that I don’t believe in my ability to get there one day. I do worry that I could chase the dream forever and never arrive. The part I haven’t reconciled is whether or not that is okay with me. Right now it is, but time changes things.
- There are so many other writers out there today. How can I possibly compete? Realistically, I don’t even want to compete. I want them to do their thing, and I’ll do mine. However, the truth of the matter is that people can only read so many novels. There’s already thousands (maybe millions?) of novels available in any given category or genre. What makes me think I have something to say that’s so different from what the people who came before me said? OR (even worse) maybe I do have something different to say, but nobody else really wants to hear it. If I try harder to bring out what’s different about me as a writer or thinker, does that only make it seem like I’m trying too hard?
Here’s the part of the blog post where a writer should bring everything back around to a main point, tie up loose ends, and wrap their blog post up with some enlightening, inspiring advice that convinces people to prevail over these five crippling thoughts.
Currently, I’m not prevailing over these five crippling thoughts.
In fact, I believe they become worse with every novel I write, despite the fact that I feel my writing improves with each novel (please start again at #1), which means it would be hypocritical of me to try to tell the rest of you what to do to fight down these difficult thoughts.
Instead, I’ll say that if you’ve ever felt these things, then you’re not alone. Many people will give you unwanted advice for how to handle these thoughts (just get over it, be brave, put yourself out there, cliché after cliché after cliché, etc.), but that’s not my goal today. I believe what you do with these thoughts and how you wield them to either your benefit or detriment is entirely up to you. As with everything in writing (and humanity), there is no one way to reach an end goal.
8 Defensive Poses For Wielding A Sword
Some of you might shrug them off. Others will beat them down. There are those who will drown inside them, and there are others who will use those seemingly “negative” thoughts to force themselves to rise up and be stronger. Whatever way you go, I hope that in the end you do it your way and are happy with your choices and outcomes.
I may be currently crippled by doubts and fears, but I have to remind myself that I also wrote the better part of 5 novels in only a year. In the thirty-two years prior, I didn’t believe I could write a novel, despite my constant desire to do just that. So you can say I’m not positive enough, that I’m being way too hard on myself, and that I’m crippling myself with doubt. Perhaps those are all true. However, I did face down the monster of self-doubt to write my first novel in this past year, and then I had the determination and courage to follow it up with four more.
Novel five might be sitting there, unread by all, but who’s to say that’s a permanent state of affairs? Maybe all I need is a chance to breathe and work through the angst, because I’ve found that powering forward despite the fears and doubts does nothing to actually help or ease those fears and doubts. Overpowering them does not resolve anything, and each time they come back stronger.
This time, I’m trying a new approach. Instead of fighting them, I’m going to attempt to learn to deal with them. Right here. Right now. Because I’m not going to quit writing. This approach definitely goes against my rush forward nature, but I feel I need to manage the thoughts, before they start to manage me. Permanently. And while I sincerely appreciate the encouragement of the writing world around me, a bunch of clichés and idioms simply aren’t my cup of tea. I’m partial to English Breakfast.
For those of you who prefer encouraging insights and advice, I don’t want you to leave completely empty handed after visiting my blog, so here’s a semi-inspirational quote that I can stomach on your behalf. Mostly due to Yoda. Perhaps if we put all those immediate reaction statements that people say carelessly (and repeatedly) on Yoda, I’d swallow them all better. Or maybe not, but at least they’d be cute.