Doubt has been my constant companion as of late. It creeps in when I’m falling asleep at night, tucking me in with terrifying words of “What if?” It wakes me up in the morning, laying troubling questions out on the bed for me, like a new outfit for me to wear that day.
“Look what I made you!” Doubt exclaims. “I thought about going with a nice Jungle Green of envy, but in the end I decided Uncertain Grey was more your style. With just a dash of red for panic. What do you think?”
“Screw you,” I mumble, suiting up in bright purples and oranges instead.
Doubt pouts for a while but as soon as it hears the clickity-clack of my keyboard, it comes running. Sitting on my shoulder so it can offer priceless nuggets of advice.
“You just used that word two paragraphs ago.”
“Don’t you think that dialogue’s a little cliche?”
And when I’m working a love scene, trying to get sparks to fly, I can feel Doubt rolling its eyes.
Surprisingly, this does not feel awesome. And the questions whisper themselves over and over in my ear. Will I finish my book before my deadline? Will anyone besides me like it when I do finish? Am I actually translating what’s in my head successfully onto paper?
And as much as I want to shrug off those questions and call them silly, I can’t. They are real worries. Real fears. Maybe I won’t make my deadline. Maybe my story won’t have mass appeal. Maybe it’ll take many more revisions to get the story right. These are all possibilities. Especially the revision part.
But here’s the thing about Doubt. In the face of it, you just have to keep writing. And in that act of defiance, you gain the upper hand.
You write because you know there is something to this story in your head. And because you trust yourself enough to know your story is worth sharing. And because, in writing it, there is a chance that you will create something great. Something larger than yourself. Something that transcends you and speaks to others.
In the face of doubt, writing is an act of defiance. In a world that sometimes feels chock-full of ugly happenings and shouting politicians, writing is an act of defiance. In a day of traffic and dirty dishes, writing is an act of defiance. Writing is the belief that, no matter what anyone else says, your story is important and you have something great to bring to the world.
And if you can make yourself believe that long enough to get to the keyboard or the paper— if you believe it long enough to return there day after day after day— then you will be right.