I ran across a description of one of my enemies… DOUBT! Author Jacqueline Winspear wrote: “Doubt. Was it an emotion? A sense? Or was it just a short stubby word to describe a response that could diminish a person in a finger snap?”
And while I most times write my blog and how it relates to the art of writing, I had a thought. THIS COULD APPLY TO LIFE [AND HOW WE LIVE IT] AS WELL!
I’ve written before about my being in good company. Regardless of whether we writers are obscure or famous, we all doubt ourselves and our work. What if Henry Charles Bukowski, or Ernest Hemingway, or John Steinbeck had let DOUBT win? Put away their pen, dumped their scribbles into a shoe box and made a trip to the attic, got a day job and never wrote another word? It doesn’t bear thinking about. WHAT IF WE ALL JUST QUIT? GAVE UP AND LAID DOWN. BUT HUMANS ARE BY NATURE FIGHTERS, WINNING OVER SOMETIMES INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS!
J. Michael Straczynski
(When in doubt do something nice for yourself. Sit in the park and watch the world. Make a list of ten things you like about yourself.)
“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”
(Life in general is swimming along, holding your breath and trying to do the best you can.)
“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”
(So often words pop out of our mouths before we’ve thought it through.)
“Everything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
And later on you can use it in some story.”
(Amen, amen to that! and you’d be surprised just how strong and resilient you really are!)
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
(There is no greater agony than bearing A DREAM inside you and not fulfilling it.)
“Critics have been described as people who go into the street after battle and shoot the wounded.”
(People will shoot you when you’re down. Get up, bullet wounds bleeding, and soldier on…don’t let the haters and the unenlightened change the way you live your life.)
“The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can’t help it.”
(Decide that you just can’t help being a better person, striving for a better you!)
Let’s see …..when were the worst moments? DOUBT clawing at me, whispering in my ear, crawling up my spine telling me that I’ll never make it, I’ll never finish a whole novel, that I don’t know the first thing about writing poetry. Writing play scripts was relatively easy for me. After all I had been in theatre reading scripts for over thirty years. And the stories simply fell out of the sky and into my brain when writing a script.
When I could no longer resist the urgency of writing about the women who wait outside prison walls, I researched the length of the average novel; number of pages and words. Yikes! Over 300 pages and 70,000 words. DOUBT was screaming in my ear: ‘you’ll never be able to write that many pages.’ ‘you’re a playwright; not a novelist’, ‘who do you think you’re kidding?’
But I had a true story (several of them, in fact) and all I needed to do was flesh those stories out. Write one page at a time. WRITE ONE PAGE AT A TIME IN YOUR LIFE. MAKE TODAY THE BEST YOU CAN MAKE IT. THEN MAKE TOMORROW EVEN BETTER!