Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The "D" Word: Doubt

It is a grey, wet and chilly day. While this is “officially” spring, winter is in the air. There’s a risk of freezing rain! On a day like today, it’s easy to let myself slip into despair, to let doubt rule the day. For the past few weeks I have been working on the rewrite of a novella, and I am nearing the end of that process. It’s no surprise, then, that doubt is trying to rear its ugly head. It’s trying to throw me off my game, instil a sense of worry that I may not be on the right path. Doubt is present because I am on the verge of finishing something, and I know that finishing something is reassurance that I am in fact on the right path. At this stage of the process, I can’t afford to let doubt ease its way in.

It’s on a day like today that I need a little encouragement, a sort of pep talk, if you will. So this is what I tell my writer self:

I dream. I imagine that I live in a world where I can be daring, where I can — without the judgment of others, without asking for outside approval — be myself. It is a world where I can follow my heart’s true desire. It is a world where I can freely do what it is that I want to do and what I feel called to do. It is a world of hope and possibility.

I am a writer. I say that with conviction. It is, today, an affirmation of who I am. I am a writer. Not because of my novel, Freestyle Love. Not because of my other published works. I am a writer because there is, deep within me, a will far greater than my own that compels me to write. It is a calling. I have chosen to heed the call.

My day is not complete if I have not put in time at the page. It’s like trying to go through the day without having a coffee. When I am caffeine-deprived, I am cranky. When I do not write, or when I don’t write enough, I am irksome and irritable. In a way, I lose my humanity. That is why each day I show up at the page because if I don’t I risk losing myself. Writing grounds me in the day, helps me to be present in the present. Writing, I hang on to myself.

I’m feeling better already. I will weather this storm of doubt and stay focused on the work before me. Perhaps doubt is trying to tell me that the road ahead is somewhat uncertain and, even so, I can’t let doubt have dominion here. All I can do is write, begin where I am, and the rest will follow.

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