Self-Doubt

 
self-doubt-vanessa-gillette

The past few weeks have packed a wallop on my confidence.

Thoughts like, “Who do you think you are?” …”You’ll never win at this” ... “Give up and get a ‘real’ job” ...these keep rattling the cage in my head. These thoughts are not foreign to me, yet I feel more susceptible to them right now.

I want to be a writer. No, I need to stop phrasing it like that.

I am a writer.

More importantly, I am a writer because I love writing. I love words. I love communication. I love that feeling of finding the perfect word or string of words that precisely dictate an emotion or a setting or a person. I love collecting and creating and transmitting knowledge.

And that’s the thing: the love has to come first. Not the validation. Not the success. Not the money.

I’ve been so caught up this summer on how to make this “thing” work. How to attract clients, how to brand myself, how to be a “successful freelance writer.” The problem is, I forgot the most important part.

Today I read a completely relevant article at a very critical time from Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my writing heroes. The message she delivers came to me when I needed it the most, but was expecting it the least.

It’s not the world’s fault that you want to be an artist. Now get back to work. Always, at the end of the day, the important thing is only and always that: Get back to work.

It is no one else’s responsibility to enjoy what I create. Yet, sitting on my work until it suffocates for a fear of rejection is pitiful (and stupid). I am writing because I love to write. Because of all those things I mentioned before. Communication. Transmitting knowledge.

None of that can happen when I hide my work where no one will see.

I am an action taker. A "doer." Reading this made me realize that I have all the tools I need to write. I can take a punch and keep fighting. I can fall over and over again and still stand up. I do not give up. After all this taking pride in my sense of discipline, though, Gilbert acknowledges that discipline is only part of the puzzle:

The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you.

Boom. That packed a punch.

This is the part I have to actively work on. I am exceptionally hard on myself. I call myself a loser, when I’m not. I call myself an idiot, when I’m not. I call myself a failure, when I sure as hell am not.

Sometimes it’s easier to blame myself and to put myself down than it is to accept the more complex things in life. Like, that it’s not the world’s fault I want to be an artist. But that has to stop. I have to forgive myself. I have to stand up and keep fighting without an ever-growing sense of resentment towards myself.

If Elizabeth Gilbert thought, “I suck” all throughout writing Eat, Pray, Love, then more than alright that I think that, too, sometimes. I just have to strengthen my ability to forgive.

I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly. I only promised the universe that I would write.