I read a post today by another aspiring writer who was having doubts about the reality of being able to make it, discouraged not by his own skill or issues, but the vastness of a bookstore. My heart went out to him for the single reason that I love bookstores and they inspire me to work harder, yet this poor guy felt intimidated by my greatest inspiration. We’re all so different in how we work and plan and dream, except that we all have that voice.
You know the one. It whispers to you in the morning when you’re trying to wake up before the day starts to sneak in some writing time, telling you how tired you are, that you should just sleep in. It hits you in the evening when you want to write after dinner, once the kids are settled, telling you the words will be so awful and you’ll only get a hundred anyway. It nags at you when you’re reading a novel and compares your bumbling prose to that of the bestselling author who penned that novel. I know it too, and these were my demons.
It took me a long time to be able to work on a novel first draft and reading at the same time. It used to be that while I had a first draft in progress, I couldn’t read. It wasn’t the realization of how much reading time I had lost because of it, it was the realization that I can’t afford to do one or the other. I need both.
When I was twenty and started seriously writing, I had no idea how long it would take to develop my skills. It’s been a long time — a wonderful time — but I’m a few years shy of the age I thought I’d have a solid writing career. This could have crushed me. Instead, I realized I still have time, I still love my writing and I’m much better at it than I was at twenty, but there’s something else. Publication is my goal, but it’s not my purpose to writing.
If I never published again, I’d still write.
Of course I’d love to be published. Short stories, novels, anything. It’s part of being a writer – creating a thing and needing to share it. And while certain doubts drive us toward improving ourselves, it should never stop us from pursuing what’s in our hearts.
I challenge you to take your doubts and stick them under a cold hard rock. Write without that stupid voice sabotaging your dreams. Write with freedom and write with joy.