After a quick search for ‘doubt’ on my faithful laptop, strangely enough, I happened across an old blog that I had drafted in 2011, but never published, call ‘self-doubt’. It gave me a nice little insight into my mindset back then:
I took a short break from my novel over the last couple of days. A relatively short one, considering previous ‘short breaks’ ranged from a month to a year. Due to a combination of drinking too much and researching too little, I felt I couldn’t continue.
So I decided to write a short story. I find short stories harder. Whereas a novel requires a higher amount of discipline, a short story requires more creativity. It’s easy to tell a story in 100,000 words if you write every day, but not so easy to tell a whole story in under 5,000. Don’t get me started on poetry. I got near the end of the short (only a couple of thousand words) re-read it and decided I had written a load of shit.
For some reason it didn’t have the usual punch. This sent me on a self-doubting spiral, I started wondering which genre my novel would fit into when it’s finished, and who the target audience would be. I started to wonder if this project I’d poured my spirit into would be any good.
Anyway, I started reading around other author’s blogs, mainly to address these concerns and see if others had experienced the same difficulties that I had. In hindsight it seems obvious that self-doubt is part of the process, but a few select blogs helped me realise this. So true to my word of taking writing more seriously, I have jump back on the literary horse today and started writing my novel again. Pretty well going after only a two day self-pity break. I must have really grown as a person this last year.
I’ve written 2,100 words today. Can’t complain about that.
There is something bizarrely satisfying about seeing the way I have written things in the past, to how I write now. There’s a critical voice in my head hounding a younger me about structure, and yet there is a somewhat arrogant voice that’s fueled by criticizing my early work.
In terms of what I have written regarding the periods of self-pity, well I laughed out loud. Oh if I could go back in time and show my younger self what lies ahead for him. The curse of guilt every time I go a day without writing. The grave disappointment when I don’t hit my daily word count. I’m not sure my younger self could handle it.