By Dara Lusk
From character arcs, plot development, titles, dialogue, descriptions, and—you know—the physical act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, writing is hard. Between the time commitment and necessary mental capacity, it is incredible there are so many writers in the world.
For me, self-doubt is one of the biggest writing stumbling blocks. It is also one of the deadliest. On good days, I feel like I could spend every minute of the rest of my life writing. But on bad days, my anxiety over whether my writing is “good” can be enough to force unnecessary edits or abandon a project altogether.
But what if my writing isn’t as good as so-and-so’s writing? What if it will never be? I can never get published if I’m not as good as so-and-so. I can’t have a scene similar to a scene in the book “such-and-such” because people will think I’m just copying it. This scene is not as good as something so-and-so would write. I’m not a good enough writer—
I’m sick of it.
Self-doubt is a battle never fully won—I realize that. Self-acceptance/love is a continuous act. I can’t guarantee I’ll love my writing every day. But, I recently found a cartoon on Pinterest that has since helped me reframe my mindset about my writing:
Apart from giving me a laugh, this cartoon made me realize two things:
1. I am my own harshest critics. I should use this as a strength to boost my work, not tear it down.
2. Writing is subjective. It’s true—some people won’t like my work. But there will be just as many, if not more, who do.
This cartoon has come to mind over the past few weeks and helped me work through doubt. I hope it does the same for you.
To all the writers out there:
Don’t make it any harder than it has to be!
That sentence doesn’t have to be perfect on the first draft!
No one will ever write that scene, that character, that dialogue the way you do!
Just because you have a bad writing day/week/month/year, doesn’t mean you will never have again have a good day/week/month/year!
Make your cake the best way you can; don’t feel like you have to invent a whole new kind of pastry.