I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt. Hosted by Positive Writer. – See more at: http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-2016/
I came across this writing contest as I was already halfway through writing this post, and it just seemed like kismet.
You see, I have been paralysed with doubt lately, unable to write a single word. My fiction writing has ground to a halt, ideas for blog posts remain elusive, and everything that I do write is immediately picked to pieces and dismissed as rubbish by an implacable internal critic.
You may have noticed that my original blog posts have been largely non-existent lately, while I choose instead to feature the wonderful posts of other bloggers. My fiction writing has suffered even more.
Ideas are out of reach, and it’s impossible to start anything new or finish anything in progress. And the worst part is that the longer it continues, the longer that you don’t write, the worse the doubt gets. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You doubt you can write anything of quality, that you are a writer at all. This doubt paralyses you, and you stop writing. This confirms your fears that you can’t write. And around the merry-go-round goes.
So how to get off this endless treadmill of self-doubt?
Well, I’m writing this post. By putting it out there, into words, and giving form to the beast. By sharing the experience. All of these things lessen the grip of this paralysing doubt.
And hey look, I’m writing stuff. It may not be perfect. There are probably errors in here somewhere. I might just be talking to myself because no one else wants to read about my little personal crisis. It is pretty self-absorbed after all.
But on the other hand, it might actually help someone out there who’s feeling the same way.
Just put one word in front of the other. Vent your frustration. Throw idealistic notions of perfection out the window. Stop trying to force the ideas. Give yourself permission to write utter nonsense. But don’t give up.
Self doubt is the bane of the creative community. It is creativity turned against itself, creative energy devoting itself to negativity and generating an endless stream of reasons why you and your work will never be good enough. Why you should give up and stop trying.
Once you realise this, you have the power to break the cycle. Your creativity hasn’t vanished. It is the very thing that is holding you prisoner to your self doubt.
So take a deep breath. Have a rant (trust me, it makes you feel better). Take a holiday from writing, and give yourself permission not to write.
The doubt won’t go away overnight. It will probably never go away completely. It is the flip side of the creative coin. But the ideas will start trickling back in again slowly. The desire to write will gradually re-awaken. And that creative force that drives you will become more constructive again, rather than devoting itself to destroying your confidence in yourself and everything you create.
And if all else fails, get drunk 🙂
Have a great weekend everyone, and best of luck on your writing adventures.