Writing is…Conquering Self-Doubt
Self-doubt is a terrible thing. It’s like this evil, smelly, oozy creature that sneaks up on you and tries to destroy all the beautiful, happy, wonderful self-confidence you’ve built. I’m speaking of “you” collectively, of course. 😉
This is how I picture Self-Doubt. And because I’m a Star Trek fan, it looks like Armus from STTNG Skin of Evil. You know, the episode where Tasha Yar died.
(Sidebar: I was really annoyed with the series in how they brought her back in that alternate timeline to give her a more honorable death. Maybe she deserved to die by the slimy hand of Armus after all. I know it’s because Denise Crosby realized what a doofus she was leaving a show that would go on to be a total of nine seasons and several movies and make a crapton of money. I was also annoyed they brought her back as a Romulan to terrorize the crew. GET OVER IT, Denise. You chose to leave the show. BUH-BYE. But I digress…)
So this self-doubt thing. Hubby and I like to watch re-runs of Big Bang Theory. It’s one of our favorite shows we can binge on (if I was using proper English, that would be “on which we can binge” but ya know… that sounds hinky). We watched the episode where Penny and Leonard have a fight about her acting career and how he thinks she’s not good enough but he completely supports her. He tells her he thinks she’ll never succeed as an actress in Hollywood. They have a huge fight. And then in the next episode, she quits her job at the Cheesecake Factory to focus on her goal of becoming an actress. And again Leonard thinks she’s making a mistake. She gets mad, and rightly so, that Leonard doesn’t support her decision.
Stay with me. I’m going somewhere with this.
I asked my husband if he felt that way about me—did he think I would never make it as a writer? Not that they’re the same thing but there are similarities. Like acting, writing is a tough business to break into. It may not be hard to get published these days, but it’s hard to stay published, to make a name for yourself and to continue to put out good books that people will love and buy. When I asked him what he thought, he considered for a moment and said he thought I would let my lack of self-confidence stand in the way.
And I think he’s right. It goes back to that old self-doubt thing. I remember when I was younger, more resilient, nothing stood in my way. If I wanted to do something, I’d do it. I had friend once who told me no grass grew under my feet. And that was true twelve or so years ago. I barreled through life with my eye on the prize. I knew what I wanted. I may not have known how to get there, but I was figuring it out. The publishing industry was a whole different beast back then and it’s changed so much—and will continue to change. I have to change right along with it. And it’s hard. I don’t like change. I resist it.
But back to the self-doubt thing. I’ve analyzed it to death and I know the catalyst that caused all my grief. That thing that made me put on the brakes and reevaluate things. I can attribute it to one person, to one event that literally altered my life. One person that completely blindsided me after I trusted her and put faith in her and thought she was my friend. I realize now she was threatened by me and thought I was going to “make it big”. I think in her mind she was doing me a favor by cutting me loose but in the end all she did was destroy a part of me that I’m trying to mend and have been trying to mend for years.
Well, I’m not going to give that bitch anymore air time. She doesn’t deserve it. She doesn’t get to rule my self-confidence one more second. She can go to hell. She, like Armus, can climb back into her slim pit.