August 26, 2018
Working on self-doubt this week. It’s funny how it works: you’ll be plugging along fine but then something will trip you up. A tiny criticism. Some confusion. More likely than not, overwhelm. Fear. You want to isolate and hide and never expose your tender skin to the light of day again.
But here’s what I discovered: self-doubt isn’t necessarily real or true. I may doubt my ability as a writer but that doesn’t mean I’m not a good writer or that I can’t be one with some work. I may doubt my ability to persist but that doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t ever see my work in print. Just because I doubt that anybody will ever want to read my books doesn’t mean that is true.
Self-doubt is good. It keeps us humble. It keeps us open to improvement. If I thought, without a doubt, that I’m the best writer in the world, I would never hear any constructive criticism that might help me be a better writer. And that’s all I really want: to be a writer that will make you laugh, cry, wonder, ponder, forget about your troubles, remember what it means to be alive, feel things you haven’t felt in a long time.
Self-doubt is humility which is a virtue, the virtue that leads to all other virtues. Self-doubt and humility say, “I need help.” And what are we without that? We all need help. It’s the thing that binds us together. It’s why we pray and have friends and try to be better people. And what are we without that? Alone and isolated. That’s not who I want to be.
I hope self-doubt will give me the humility to learn to be the writer I want to be.
Because I want to be that writer that flies you to the moon without you ever having to leave your bed.