Writer’s Doubt Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

I’ve seen a lot of Twitter posts lately from authors and writers who doubt their abilities and wish they weren’t consumed with angst over it.

We all go there. It must surely be natural and inevitable to the creative process. But if we learn to lasso our doubts, to avoid their crippling effect, we may be all the better for it.

Because ultimately, why does this have to be a bad thing?

You know what’s really awful? Self-proclaimed writers who never question their abilities—and therefore go about the process blithely, and haphazardly. Or willy-nilly as my Other Worldly series protagonist Rowan Layne might say. Rowan’s a writer too, and she encounters both angst over creating an unprecedented book about aliens as well as backlash for having the nerve to write it.

The reality is, those who take time to hone their skills, to sharpen their craft to produce something that’s from the heart, will likely be better writers who fabricate a more authentic work of art as they weave an enticing tale.

After all, how many times have those of us in this noble endeavor heard wannabe authors proclaim that they don’t read, but might just write a novel so it can be made into a movie, and they can then “Rake in the Benjamins”?

Yes, it’s true that for many folks, and for powerhouse publishers, it’s all about money, money, money. But individuals in it only for the imagined riches aren’t concerned with a respectable end product.

You can bet they’ll never have a moment’s worry over their writing ability—or lack thereof. They won’t waste time learning how to construct a coherent sentence much less a plot, nor will they invest in professional editing or constructive feedback of any kind.

They’ll be that person on Twitter or in your writer’s group who says things like, “I don’t read fantasy, but how hard can it be to write it? You just have to create an alternative world, right?”

Those of us attempting and achieving this “other” literary world by putting actual pen to paper and learning the means that allow us to do so eloquently and creatively, we know better. Writing takes effort, imagination, and yes, actual skills. And of course, we’re bound to encounter a little bit—or a lot—of anxiety and self-doubt at times. But we persevere, because we know this isn’t about money or fame or someone else’s idea of creating a fantasy world.

Writing is about connecting with readers, giving voice to what others cannot, and the cathartic process that allows us to enter a rich realm of character and adventure and the entire gamut of human emotion and personal experience. Even if we’re writing about aliens.

So, give yourself a pat on the back at your occasional bouts of worrying whether you’re doing it right, or good enough. If you’re creating an adventure with extraterrestrial beings, curious kids, or cats and dogs, make it a book that others will be eager to escape to, and maybe find a bit of themselves in the process.

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