All the talent in the world will not insulate you from moments of doubt. The best well written outline will not save you from doubt. All the writing challenges, writing sprints and applications for NaNoWriMo will not save you from doubt.
But here is something that you need to not just understand, but to know: a doubt unchecked becomes a rooted fear.
A doubt–unchecked–becomes a rooted fear.
As a creative person, especially a writer, you will encounter these moments where the words won’t come, or they cannot come. These types of doubts are normal. However, when the doubts which are not worked through become fears.
A fear in something irrational, or unproven in some cases.
In the years by which I have been at this craft, learning and trying to do it better, the main three fears which occur in the life of writers are can be summed up here:
1.) Fear of Launching.
2.) Fear of Criticism.
3.) Fear of Vision.
Let me explain a little further.
The Fear of Launching will run the space out of a computer, jump drive or notebook. It will keep you second guessing, nervous and believing it is good enough to just write! This fear will keep you as a hamster on a wheel.
How you defeat this: Write and begin to share you work. Find a writing group. Find a free platform. If you are a minority writer, these writer groups are essential. Writing in community helps.
The Fear of Criticism will send keep you thinking that you work will have no audience. That you will not be successful. This fear will paralyze your talent: it will stop you from writing or sharing your work! This fear will be apparent especially in the beginning–and must be handled afresh with every project.
How you defeat this: Write. Write scared. Write everything that you think you want to read! Remember these two quotes.
“If there is a book you want to read, you must write it.” -Toni Morrison
“A real writer can write anything.” -Christopher Priest
Write because you know you can.
The Fear of Vision will keep you from branching out into the world. It will keep you stifled and stymied into a genre either you want to change, or expand. As a writer, you must become comfortable in seeing what other people cannot see. Don’t be afraid of what you see, or want to see! That is the nature of this craft–we create what we see, that other people can’t see, in order to make the world is little bigger or smaller.
How to confront this: Write what you want to write, and not what other people tell you to write. Find the genre that makes you happy, that speaks to you, and write what you want. Write the things you want to see.
*Tune into The Writers’ Block Podcast during the month of October to find out more tips and tricks on making doubt work for you.