I don't often write about writing on here. That's not really the purpose behind this blog, but every once in a while the discussion in a writing group I'm part of prompts me to post something about writing here. Lately we've been discussing doubt and overcoming it in regards to our writing in that group. This post stems from that discussion.
It's inevitable that when you have somewhere you write for regularly, you will experience doubts.
Doubt that you anyone will actually care about what you write.
Doubt that people will actually read what you write.
Doubt that are any good at writing.
Doubt that you have anything of value to say.
Doubt that anyone would notice if you just simply disappeared.
And those doubts come even when you know you are supposed to write. Even when you can't not write. No writer, no matter why they write, is immune to doubt.
The difference between those who keep writing despite the doubt and those who give up at the first sign of doubt is what we do with the doubt. We have a choice when they come.
We can decide that the doubt means we weren't cut out to be a writer. And then we stop writing. Keeping our words and what we have to say inside forevermore.
Or we can choose to allow the doubt to push us to write more. We can take it as a sign that what we have to say is important. If it wasn't important, we wouldn't be worried about saying it.
Sometimes, as writers we have things we feel like we need to say, but something is keeping us from being able to write them. And that something is doubt. I know I've had those times.
One of the clearest examples I have to share came a little over a year ago. I had something pressing I felt I should write, but every time I sat down tow rite it, I couldn't get any words onto the page. My doubt that I was actually the person to write it and share it kept the words from coming - kept me from writing anything at all, even other things. Ultimately, the doubt was fear of what others would think if I wrote it.
I finally got to the point where I knew I had to just write it. I went to my favourite writing place and sat down. I didn't worry about getting the words right. That can always be fixed later. I just started writing, as it came. It didn't make much sense at first, that came the more I wrote.
I've learned that sometimes when we're feeling doubt as a writer, we just need to sit down and write whatever we can. When we start, it may not make any sense at al. The important this is just to start writing. Leave the editing for later.
Once I finally got it written, I shared it and it has become my most popular blog post. To me, that's a sign that it definitely mattered that I wrote it. If it hadn't mattered if I wrote it, no one would have read it and I wouldn't have struggled to write it.
Doubt as a writer doesn't have to stop you from writing. It can be what pushes you to keep writing, because if you're supposed to write it's because what you have to say matters.