I’m going to lay it out there and make an admission. I’ve been in a funk. Funk about writing. Funk about winter (there’s no snow!). Funk about my weight. You name it, I’ve found a reason to walk around the house with a hang dog look and long for inspiration, spring, a miracle diet solution … whatever.
But here’s the deal. I really have nothing to be blue about. Life’s pretty good. Health is pretty good and I’ve actually lost some weight this winter. I’m earning a living writing and my family is fantastic. Of course – life is much more complicated than to boil it down into a few sentences but the bottom line is, it’s my attitude that sucks. And it shames me.
So I decided enough is enough and to do something about it. First step: figure out what was really eating at me. What was making me go into my office every morning and instead of writing like crazy, find myself in the middle of the afternoon still playing on-line Scrabble like it was THE most important activity I could possibly engage in?
I REALLY don’t have time for this – and yet … I’ve played a heck of a lot more Scrabble games lately than I’ve written pages. Not good.
Okay. Right about now, you might be asking yourself – Huh? She’s got over 40 books under her belt, lucked into some awards and has consistent appearances on the NYT and other best seller lists. What the HECK does she have to feel self-doubt about? Trust me – I’ve asked myself the same question but the bottom line is, self-doubt, my friends has been my problem.
I’m waffling over every word on my new project, second guessing, questioning, wondering if this is the book that is finally going to expose me a fake and a fraud. What is up with that?
So – I figured I needed to find the cause which resulted in this effect. I started cruising a few blogs, ‘searching for the truth, grasshopper’ and I stumbled upon a couple of posts that really resonated with me. Both were written by successful writers and both were about self-doubt and the creative writing process. Wow, did the light bulbs flash on. Might have even heard a few bells and whistles. I want to share the links with you here because whether you’re a successful or a struggling writer or whether you’re grappling with other aspects of your life or creative process, these two blogs will surely hit a note or two that you can relate to.
Blog one: Allison Brennan’s: Spear the Monster on Murder She Wrote:
Blog two: Harry and Susan Squires, Writers In the Storm blog
Both Allison and Susan are friends of mine. And both are very successful writers – yet both struggle with self doubt and the creative process. There is nothing I could say as well as the two of them said in these two separate posts that approach the issue from different angles. I want to thank them publically for sharing.
The over-arching messages that I took away from these posts is that I am not alone and that there are tools available to help me and other writers who are feeling the same sense of ineptitude, loss of creativity and have stalled at one time or another because of the weight of self doubt. And trust me – there is strength knowing that there are ‘numbers’ out there. I’m not alone in my struggle. It’s how you control your reactions that determine your fate – as a person, as a creative force, as a success.
I’m determined to employ some of their suggestions to get past this ‘punk’ I’ve let myself wander in to.
My question to you is, do you ever experience self-doubt? And if so, do you have some ‘jump starts’ that you’ve found successful to help you get back in the groove? One thing I’m resolving to do is go back and read Anne Lamot’s Bird By Bird. I always find inspiration in the pages of that book.
P.S. Watch for LAST MAN STANDING available January 31st, 2012!