Days 24-27. It’s my pity party and I’ll pull my hair out if I want to.

You are cordially invited to my party of pity. This party will provide the perfect opportunity to dredge up old disappointments and “woe is me” stories. You can indulge in comfort food such as ice cream and mashed potatoes while listening to a heartbreaking medley of emo music and Sarah McLachlan. There is no dress code, so it is considered appropriate to show up in those 2 day old sweats that you couldn’t bear to change out of. I do ask that each guest bring a beverage for the party, alcohol is preferred. Spaces are limited, so please RSVP as soon as possible.

I think I’ve figured out why writers are viewed as such tortured souls. I think the majority of us do not begin writing already tormented. Writing is the cause not the effect. The constant self loathing and second guessing causes our naive and hopeful souls to twist into something unrecognizable. The person who once ran to the page with a glowing optimism now shrinks away into the shadows of the corner.

Wait, is that just me?

My name is Mariah, and I suffer from self-doubt. I constantly have to talk myself down from the literary ledge. The backspace button on my keyboard is far too large and tempting. I swear it whispers to just give up, that this will be worst book ever written.

Of course, then my own self doubt chimes in and reminds me that it’s almost impossible to be the worst book ever written. That would be considered an achievement in itself. No, this will just be middle of the road bad. It will be read by 3 people, at most (including family members). They will all shrug their shoulders and say “meh”.

Those are the thoughts I have every time I sit down to write.

You would think that being picked on as a child would help thicken my skin. I suppose it did but only against other people’s criticism (not by very much, I’ll admit). Against my own vicious judgements, however, I am completely helpless. I know everyone says “you are your own worst critic”, but damn I really am a bitch to myself.

Do you ever doubt your writing? How do you overcome it?

I’m almost positive my main character will visit me in my dreams tonight. She’ll probably throw my laptop at me and tell me to grow a pair.

157 days left! Yikes!

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7 thoughts on “Days 24-27. It’s my pity party and I’ll pull my hair out if I want to.

  1. Best way to avoid well-deserved criticism – don’t eat ice cream and mashed potatoes together. Alcohol, on the other hand, goes with everything.

    I am quite the jackass to myself too. I keep thinking that if I would stop criticizing myself I would actually have something published. I am currently working on drowning the critic inside me – not completely, because he does have his useful points.

    My sarcastic remark is that I give my writing to people that cannot write to overcome my self-doubt. But, in all honesty, I never get over my self-doubt. It is always there, always pressuring. I hope some day that all of us find that our inner-critic can make us a better writer…now, if he would just allow us to all become published writers.

    • If the first step is to avoid my peculiar food pairings, then I am worse off than I thought.

      Kidding. I don’t really eat them together. But now that the idea is there…

  2. I spend more time doubting my writing than believing in it. But I only act in those rare moments I do believe my words are worth reading. Taking a risk can keep the doubts at bay because you replace doubt with fear. Doubt is not bad IF it drives you to get better. In the moments when you feel good about what you’ve written, use that confidence to share, submit, or publish your story.

    • I’m relieved to hear I’m not the only one that doubts. I will make sure to latch hold of those moments where the doubt is quiet, however fleeting they may be. Starting this blog has helped. It makes it much easier when I have somewhere I can vent.

  3. When those self-doubt moments arise I usually head to my bookshelf and start reading one of my favorite books. They inspire me. If that doesn’t work I’ll head to a bookstore and see what the latest books are on the front tables and on the shelves. That helps sometimes too, especially when I see that a not-so-great sounding book got published. It gives me hope. 🙂

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