So the last couple blogs have been advice type columns, very positive in nature. Today I thought I’d go to the dark side, and share some of my own doubts and obstacles and the way I deal with them.
Doubt #1.) My writing actually sucks.
Well, it might. But writing is just like any other activity. The more you do it, the better you get. The more coachable you are, and the more you constantly seek improvement, the better you’ll get.
Knowing those things doesn’t make the imposter syndrome go away, but it does make it a bit easier to manage. I probably won’t ever be the world’s greatest writer. Probably won’t ever win a Nobel prize.
But that’s really not the point for me. In fact, as much as I’d love to eventually sell A LOT of books, I really just like writing. I like creating stories. I like writing beautiful and poetic lines. And even if no else ever finds meaning in my writing, I find it meaningful.
Doubt #2.) I can’t write right now, or I can’t write this particular story right now, or I can’t solve this particular problem in the story right now.
The first part of this is just straight up not true. You can always write *something*, there’s just no guarantees it’s going to be any good. And it may not be the thing you want to write. But you can definitely write something.
The second two can be a bit more challenging. Sometimes I do need some time to… ruminate over a particular aspect of the story before I can solve a particular problem. But the first step, at least for me, is just sitting down at the desk, reading what I wrote previously, and at least trying to write something.
Sometimes I immediately get up and begin pacing the room (pacing is how I think), but most of the time I do find that even if it takes a few minutes, I actually *can* solve that problem. But I have to sit down and actually try.
Doubt #3.) I’m not moving fast enough!
Well, this one is just straight up true. If I could make some kind of deal with the devil where I could finish novels faster, I would take that deal.
But like with just about everything in life, it takes time to complete a goal. Writing probably as much as any other thing, you really have to take a long view. Most writers don’t even get published until their third book, and its not uncommon to hear about ten years or more of rejection.
You may not be moving as fast as you’d like, but as long as you keep moving, you will get that novel finished eventually.
A couple tips; 1.) set out time specifically for writing—I recall beat-selling author Peter Brett giving a talk where he said he’d written one of his novels on his fifteen minute subway commutes to and from his day job—he’d had no other time to write. But that time he did have, he used. If he can do it on the subway, you can do it with your schedule too. Find that space. 2.) Write *something* every day. Even if it’s just a journal entry. The more you write, the more you’ll build up the habit of writing. And the easier it will become to write more, and write faster.
Those are some of my issues and doubts and how I deal with them. Feel free to post yours in the comments below.