It had been such a long time since I’d been hit by the ugly doubt stick, that I was shocked when it happened last week. There I was, on the train, editing and minding my own business when out of nowhere – BAM!
To be fair, my morning edit session wasn’t full on doubt, more just disappointment in the form of “hmm, I hadn’t remembered this section being this slow…”. However a confidence busting experience at work during the day turned that disappointment to full-blown doubt. It was interesting (I can see that now) to notice how a negative experience at work seemed to feed right into my writing. Anyhow, by the time I got back on the train in the afternoon, I was in fully fledged “this story is crap” mode. I was gutted.
However just before I reached home, I’d moved through the slow section of the work and was working on a more engaging chapter.
While they’re not solutions to doubt, here’s what I’ve learned about this insipid problem:
* Like most nasty things, it festers and intensifies in the dark. So to shine some light on it, I expressed my feelings to my friends at work and my close personal friends.
* Talking about how I was feeling took the shame out of how crappy I thought my writing was.
* Doubt’s message is always overstated and catastrophic. For example, the few pages of my book that threw me down the shaft the other day were a little slow, but if I listened to my doubt, I’d have believed that the whole book was rubbish and needed to be tossed in the bin.
* I just have to keep going.