Doubt is one size fits all. It comes in many sizes, shapes and colors. Kind of like a Snuggie. It covers and envelops our bodies and spirits and hearts, squeezing out all imagination. Doubt is just another word for fear, and that can be paralyzing.
Think back to when you submitted your writing for the first time, to a contest, a magazine, or a publishing house. My first time was two years ago, when I emailed a personal story to Chicken Soup. I was so nervous that it took two weeks to convince myself. It took all the guts I could muster just to hit “send.”
Most of the time, I let my self-doubt get the best of me. I am hardest on myself; much harder than I am on others. I hold up an impossible yardstick to compare my writing to others, veteran published authors. Hard questions crowd my mind. Do I have the talent to be a successful writer? Do I have the courage to face the criticism?
My father was a brilliant engineer, and a pragmatist at heart. “Eat that elephant one bite at a time, Spunky,” he would counsel me. And so, I shut out all the “what ifs” rolling around in my head, and I put one foot in front of the other. I’ve been playing the sponge, soaking up all the knowledge I can about the mechanics of good writing. And I write. Every week. BIC…butt in chair.
Don’t let fear get the best of you. If you have faith in your talent, way deep down inside of you, faith in your unique voice, in your literary dream, then move forward and don’t look back. Run your race, and finish strong. Do it afraid.
“Never, never, never give up.”—Winston Churchill