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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Doubt- IWSG (13)

You know that ol' feeling of doubt that likes to attach itself to your head like a claw? And the more you fight it, the deeper it digs? That's what I've been struggling with lately. 

My feelings on being a writer is in constant yo-yo mode. One minute I remind myself it is okay not to rush and to stop and enjoy life, the next I think I'm being a slacker. One day I think I made fantastic improvement with my books, the next day I think the work done is nothing but a joke. One week I feel I finally cracked the final details that have been holding me back in my story lines, the next week I hate it all.

Why? Because I can't stop doubting myself.

Writer's doubt is far worse than that which we call writer's block, if you ask me. At which point do we know we're not just letting it ruin the hard work and pass up on good ideas because of it? With the "block"—if it really exists—we'll eventually find inspiration and go at it. But with "doubt" we work and work, and see no improvement because we're sinking in darkness. 

believe I have great story ideas, but I doubt the words I put on paper truly convey them. Can I really write? Am I just deluding myself thinking I can? Sigh. When it comes down to it, I can't see myself stopping. I do love it, after all, and I do it mainly for me . . . but goodness am I hard to please! I know I can make myself better if I don't give up, and I don't plan on letting doubt win. Now I wonder if this post is stupid . . . should I post it, or . . . I kid, I kid. 



This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hop.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

33 comments:

  1. Laughing at your last line. I completely agree with your assessment of a writer's self doubt. I think it comes with the package of exposing our work to the world. We most conquer it so that it doesn't hinder us. Wonderful post.

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  2. Doubt, yes! As writers we are destined to feel doubt, especially when we pour our heart and soul into something so important to us. I think the key is to not let that doubt get you down. How do you do that? Hmmm, still trying to figure that one out! I'll let you know when I do! :)

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  3. I hear you! I sometimes wonder if, for me, it's more perfectionist tendencies than doubt? Ack, maybe it's both?! Either way, I keep going, I keep writing. And so should you. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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  4. I think as writers we're always going to doubt ourselves. You know what I think helps? Editing. Understanding that you're not going to get things perfect on the first try, but knowing that there are things you can do to make it better. If you really think something is bad, work on it. Chances are it was never as bad as you thought it was, but if it is, you can fix it.

    Sarah Foster
    August IWSG Co-host

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  5. Life is that way, too... making decisions day after day and wondering if we've made the right ones. So many times, you don't really know until you get to view it from hindsight. And then, it's too late to edit or change your mind.

    But! doubt is also what makes us strive for perfection. Doubt can be used to our advantage if we keep it on a short leash. Great post!

    IWSG #184 until Alex culls the list again.

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  6. I know what I envision is far greater than what makes it to the page. But like Melissa said, that doubt makes us try harder and improve.

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  7. "I can't see myself stopping." Nothing's more encouraging than that!

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  8. We're our own worst critics - it's true! I've struggled a LOT with self-doubt, as I'm sure a lot of writers have, but I've been trying to channel the doubt into striving to be the best writer I can be - it's all we can really do! And I treasure the days when the doubts take a back seat and it's all about the words. :)

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  9. Writers doubt is the cause of much of my writers block, I think. I'm really good at doubting myself, though slowly I (think) I'm learning that the doubt can actually help me. As long as I don't let it stifle me, it can drive me to do my very best, to push myself to try new things...

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  10. It can be really difficult to silence the voice of doubt--sometimes you just have to keep your head down and keep going!

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  11. I've been realize that as writers, we tend to have a lot of alone time (by choice - so we can write!), and sometimes it's a double-edged sword. Whenever I spend too much time alone, that's when the doubtful voices really start being ugly. But finding a balance between having writer time and also having enough of a social life with people who love and encourage us really helps me.

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  12. So Doubt splits his time between your house and mine! That's almost like bigamy. We should have him arrested, then we could go out for lunch. Bacon?

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  13. I'm glad to read that you can't see yourself stopping. I definitely want to read more from you. :)

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  14. LOL. Definitely agree on the yo-yoing. Keep going. You'll get there!

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  15. It's always possible to look back at something and say you could have done better. Every time I complete a book review or a chapter in my novel, I think "this isn't my best work." Yet it usually turns out okay anyway. Hey, could you have written a better blog post? Who cares? What you wrote was good, the ending funny. Just do your best within a reasonable time, and call it done.

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  16. Doubt never ends, does it? Even when you're super proud of something you've written, there are still those times when you question it. And I think that's totally normal, and actually important. If we never questioned what we wrote, then we'd all be very arrogant and annoying, wouldn't we? =P I guess the key is to never let doubt win...it may be there, and it may actually help us along our way to becoming better writers. But that doesn't mean it can stop us!

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  17. It will always be there. I just think it is how we push past it that shows our growth as a writer.

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  18. Yeah, I know how you feel. With me it's less doubt than conviction that I'm not good enough. But I keep trying, keep revising, and keep refining craft. Maybe someday I won't think I'm so bad...

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  19. I'm struggling with my fiction right now. I finally realized I do so much better at non-fiction and now I doubt I can produce anything good with fiction.

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  20. You sum up a writer's doubt nicely. I go through that too. Emma's right, we're our own worst critics.

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  21. I feel for you. I feel like I'm spinning out of control most days. And to think, we're such a nice bunch. They say all the greats had these same doubts.

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  22. This year, my doubt has been really bad. It's dug deep into my head and I try to shake it off, with some success, but it finds its way back. If you ever need a pick me up or some encouragement, give me a shout.

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  23. When I'm writing the doubt is gone. It's always when I'm waiting or about to submit that the doubt gets me. I try to write more to keep me sane :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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  24. I've never heard of Writer's doubt before---but at least I can finally put a name to that feeling. :) Don't ever stop. One of my writing profs once told me that if you truly love writing, even though it will be the the thing to rip your heart out, it will also be the thing that makes it pulse with joy and life, so don't stop. I'm glad you don't see yourself stopping. This was an inspiration to me--thanks!

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  25. Well, with all these comments from people who agree and who have experienced Writer's Doubt, at least you know you're not alone! You are still unique, though, and I'm glad you can't see yourself stopping, because your writing needs to get out there for people to enjoy.

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  26. I have a whole truckload of doubts, of all sizes and shapes. Many times they overpower me and stop me from writing. I struggle to write during those days. When I ignore them they stop harassing me.

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  27. Man, I'm right there with you. I wish I could be like Ralphie from a Christmas Story writing his theme. Just blindly believing what he wrote is the best thing since Hemmingway! Hang in there!!

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  28. Yeah, writing can be like living on a yo-yo. As time goes on, I doubt myself less. Although there is always something to panic about. :)

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  29. Giggled at the end to this post. My first revision of my book is more red than black, but that's what its about I guess, getting the ideas down and then polishing them.

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  30. I've found confidence is built over the years, by just writing, putting it out there, interacting with other writers, reading a lot. In time, you don't spend so much time second-guessing yourself. Okay, you always second-guess yourself a little but that confidence lets you push past the doubt and keep going.

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  31. My yo-yo usually bounces up and down several times a day. As time's been going on, it has gotten better. Or maybe it's just that I don't let it bother me as much anymore. But does the doubt ever go away? I doubt it :)

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  32. I think doubt is a positive thing, as it makes us think about the end result. Is it good enough? I have this with writing and crafting. Sometimes I think no and go back and improve it, sometimes I step back and think 'wow, I really think that's good!'. It's just hard getting that balance and sometimes telling that voice of doubt to clear off! x

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