Doubt is the worst
We experience doubt whenever we make a choice. When we pick out an outfit for a job interview, when we decide what to cook for a dinner party, and choose where we'll go on vacation, we experience doubt about the answers for each of these.
It's harder when the stakes are higher. Do we make that risky career change? Do we have children? Should we get a second opinion from another doctor?
And when we get serious about our passions, we face overwhelming doubt. Like so many others, this is my battle with writing. Wow, I love this book. I could never write as well as they do. This story is basically the same one I'm trying to write—what do I do now? How could I ever have thought I was a writer? We wonder if our partners feel like we're taking advantage of them while we pursue "our hobbies." We worry when no one seems interested in what we're doing. It hurts when we get rough feedback. We wonder whether we'll ever finish the first draft, if the editing phase will ever end, if we'll ever enjoy our story, or worse, if anyone else will. And will we ever land an agent or find an editor? And on and on...
I've been writing for almost three years now with serious intent to get published. I'm slow. I'm a mom of two great kids and a dopey dog whose main interest is chewing my shoes. I work full time at a job I love. For the past several months I have "single-mom'd-it" while my husband invests in his career and is away from home most of the time. And I think we've probably all got PTSD from covid in one form or another.
So...doubt! How do we get past it?
I think it's a choice. A hard, gritty choice that we have to make. Something we need to pull up our britches on and get to work. Muddy boots and all. When we look at the people who we feel have succeeded—or have done something we admire—we can ask ourselves how they got there. Was it easy for them? No way. They worked hard, and they didn't quit.
Can we be like that, too? YES.
I eventually came to a point where I had to look at my writing and ask myself, "All right, is this happening or what? I'm pretty tired, but I still want this. I want to see my book on a shelf. I want to see a kid read my book and smile and laugh and feel something. I want to make a difference."
So, then what? Eventually, a kind muse offered me a phrase that I latched onto: Doubt has nothing to be proud of. Immediately, I wrote this on a scrap of paper and pinned it to my board.
It's up to us. Only we can make this choice for ourselves. The point is to finish it. To give yourself some grace, get some perspective on our current place in life, and just to keep going. Don't let that doubt take hold. It's got nothing to be proud of. Please take the above image and download it for yourselves. Stick it on your board. Let me know how you're doing.
We can do this.