What I Learned in 2013 About Doubt
We all have it, no matter what our job description is, but it especially affects writers. Think about how we put ourselves and our work out there; only to receive rejection after rejection. It takes its toll on one’s soul. The hardest thing is to NOT give up. Not throw all stories into the recycle bin and shut down the computer forever.
In my personal experience, there have been both rejections and requests. I won’t get into just how many or the outcomes of these, but know I’ve felt that writer doubt. Many times. What keeps me going? The knowledge and deeply felt belief that I AM A WRITER. If one of The Four Houseman placed his hand on my chest, he’d find my soul filled to the brim with words (sorry, I’m totally into Supernatural right now). He’d know that what I say is true. I am full of stories and one day someone other than my family and CPs will read them.
Knowing I’m a writer, I recognize that writers cannot work alone like solitary beings. This allows the depression and darkness to seep in. Talking to other writers and belonging to CP groups or organizations helps to keep going. To not allow the dark thoughts to take over. To not quit. Surround yourself with other writers. There are so many places to find a CP, in fact there was recently a blog helping with CP matchmaking. This is how I found my first CP last year, although I did go through about 4-5 before I found her. We are a perfect match, but I also recently joined a CP group to help better my story.
I’ve totally learned what it means for writers to have thick skin. I am sensitive—with lots of practice at hiding it—but having others to talk to and share your work with is important. You need cheerleaders and honest critique people surrounding you. Your family will love you and sentence you put to paper, so they don’t really count. Someone from the outside who knows what it means to submit material, to get a form rejection letter, and how to fix a plot hole. That’s what a writer needs.
And if all of this doesn’t phase you, think about the writers who are on the Best Seller List. They ALL have faced rejection and self-doubt. No writer is published without a story of woe, but they all talk about how important this feeling was to their work. Without doubt, writers wouldn’t work so hard to fix their stories. Make them better. So, instead of rocking in a corner crying, go out and find another writer or two to talk to. Get yourself involved and focus on the importance of telling stories the best way you can.