Sunday, February 1, 2015

Doubt. Restlessness. Courage.

Restless. That’s how I’m feeling these days. Like I can’t get myself moving, like I’ve stalled. The one good, productive day of writing sandwiched in-between the other days plagued with restlessness does little to move me forward. I’m still immured in the restlessness, still trying to claw my way out.

Maybe it’s not so much restlessness as doubt. Or a combination of both. Over the past few months I’ve been working on the rewrite of a novel-length manuscript. This particular manuscript has me really excited because, when I compare it to earlier works, I can see my growth as a writer. The writing has matured. I’m getting better. Recently, as part of the editing process, I read through the manuscript to trace out the timeline in order to make sure the chronology of events was intact. That process revealed the cracks in the storyline, which is of course a good thing. Yet I’m having trouble now getting started again. I’m overwhelmed by the work ahead of me. I don’t know how or where to begin. I’m not sure how to move forward. I took that first sip of doubt and now I’m bingeing on it. I’ve completed hard rewrites before. Why, now, do I doubt the writer in me?

In Walking in this World, Julia Cameron tells us that “Doubt is a signal of the creative process. It is a signal that you are doing something right — not that you are doing something wrong or crazy or stupid.” I want to believe that. I want to feel that I am on the right path instead of doubting my creative calling.

On a day like today, I remind myself that a career in the arts takes faith and courage. I have to believe in myself, and have faith that I can succeed and remain faithful to the cause. I know that I have to just begin somewhere, and then let myself be guided. That’s faith. I have travelled down this road before and survived, and I will no doubt see this road again. That’s courage. Nevertheless, in this moment, I’m looking for a way to shake off this restlessness, peel away the doubt. This act of writing is helping to do that, telling me to begin where I am, and the rest will follow.

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