Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Writer's Doubt" And How To Conquer It

I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: Overcoming Writer’s Doubt’ held by Positive Writer. If you would like to join in the fun, please click Here.
Every writer has battled it, every writer has faced it.
Few have conquered it.
It is like the fairytale's giant fire-breathing dragon of the Writer's reality.
Targeting the novice and the expert alike, it's appetite is insatiable.
Then, as swift and silent as a spider going after it's prey, the monster attacks!
Writer's Doubt.
This ugly, multi-headed monster, has but one purpose.
He is hell bent on destroying you, The Writer.
Spinning "I can't's" and "What if's" around in your head, until you're so dizzy you can't think or see straight.
Striking fear into the heart of the most seasoned writer, "Writer's Doubt" can destroy you, your dreams, everything you hope to accomplish as a writer, all in the matter of a few moments...
If you allow it.
But, I am getting ahead of myself!
First, a little about me...
Even as a young child, I knew I was a writer.
From the time I formed my first letters, I knew my purpose. My passion...
I loved creating new and exciting worlds, experiences, and ways of communicating.
I was lucky enough to have a voracious reader as an older sister, and a couple of younger siblings to try my newest story out on.
My older sister gave me the need to read in the form of competition - I couldn't let her leave me behind in any area of life!
My little brother and sister didn't want just any old story, it had to be exciting, unusual, with mystery, and sometimes a splash of romance. (I want to say the romance was for my sister's sake, but to be honest, it was for my benefit as much as hers!)
I have struggled with dyslexia my whole life, so the monster "Writer's Doubt" is not a stranger to me.
Since dyslexia isn't confined to just spelling, it can cause confusion in how words are placed, sentences are constructed, and sometimes even causes whole words to be completely skipped.
When it's at its worst, my writing often ends in tears of frustration and doubt.
Why keep trying?
Is it really worth the pain and effort?
Am I just kidding myself?
Last week is a good example:
I thought I had finished my book outline - I was giddy and so proud of myself!
Until I found out that I had placed the same scene in multiple chapters (Three!) of my book.
How I managed to do it, I am not sure, but, fixing it is going to be fun! (I am sure it had something to do with certain little distractions...)
Disgusted and more than a little frustrated, I allowed the monster to do it's worst...
Maybe I should listen to this beast. He could be telling the truth!
Maybe I'm not cut out to be a writer.
If I can't even keep my scenes straight...

Dyslexia is hard enough to deal with, but add being a single parent, and suddenly writing has become something that seems like a book version of a mission impossible plot.
There have been so many times I have given up my writing, only to return to it with more passion, more verve.
I am ready to share my stories with the world!
So, I sit down, confident, pen poised in hand, just in time for the ugly monster, "Writer's Doubt" to rear his petrifyingly fearsome head.
I drop my pen, fear and doubt encompassing me, shrouding me in dark mists of confusion.
I am unable to move, unable to think. I can only feel.
Fear, guilt, confusion and self-doubt overtake my thoughts, ripping away my confidence.
Like a well written Character, "Writer's Doubt" has many facets to his large personality.
The most familiar being;

Not good Enough:

What if I am not good enough?

What if my story is not good enough?

What if my readers don't like my story?

Self  Doubt:

How can I call myself a writer? I've never published anything! Doesn't calling myself a writer make me a fraud?

Who is going to read this drivel?

Is this a complete waste of time?

What if I spend all my time writing and can't get published? Have I ignored my family and friends for nothing?

 -The last of which makes way for his cousin "Guilt" to enter the scene.

Guilt adds a whole new facet to the Ugly Monster's well rounded personality.

I have fought this monster for years. Every day I get up to write, and then the Ugly Monster shows his head and I cower.
Before I can count to ten, I am swimming in guilt, afraid to even pick up my pen, fear of failure staring at me starkly in my face.
Maybe I shouldn't be writing, my family and friends need me.
Am I ruining their lives by putting their needs and concerns to the side, while I write?
Admit it, you don't really expect to be published, do you? How could you? Are you really good enough?
Then it hits me!
The sneaky dragon-like monster has struck again!
I laugh in it's many faces.
I know I am better than a wimpy ol' thing like Doubt.
I am passionate about writing! 
I write for the pure joy of writing!
I LOVE writing!
And Writer's can make mistakes. (As do many other professionals the world over. I have to add this because it comforts me!)
If it doesn't work the first time, fix it!
Don't give up!
Fight the Dragon in the Fairytale/Reality.
I was amazed! As I started to conquer my fears, failures, and guilt, the monster got smaller and smaller! As he got smaller, so did his voice.

Suddenly, very quietly, I could hear my heart shouting from a seemingly great distance:
You are Writer! 
Write! Write! Write!
No one, nothing can tell you to quit, but you.
Then I realized,
You are the one that decides whether you succeed or fail -  not the ugly monster "Writer's Doubt", not even your boss, family, friends or publisher.
Just You!
So, before you decide to retire your pen, keyboard, or typewriter, remember that the sneaky monster "Writer's Doubt" may have already injected his venomous poison into your mind, but you have the antidote!  
(Passion mixed with a little knowledge will remove toxic traces of the venom.) 
Don't allow him (or anyone, for that matter!) to have the last say.

So, here are the four ways I fight and banish "Writer's Doubt" and his cousin "Guilt" to their dark and gloomy kingdom.

The first step to banishing the Ugly Monster "Writer's Doubt" is Own your story!
Remember, no one can write like you.
You have your very own unique voice and take on a story.
You are the only one who can tell your story in the way you tell it. It isn't anyone else's story because it is your own! (Barring you trying to steal someone's story, of course!)

Second, Define why are you writing your story.
Is it to help people? To entertain? Or just for the joy of creating?
Whatever the reason you are writing, know the reason and remember why you are writing. (This also helps combat the slimy "Guilt" Monster.)

Third and fourth, ask yourself these questions:
Are you a good writer?
If you feel a little under-qualified for the title "Writer", then do something about it!
Take a course on writing your specific genre, read more, get out and experience life and most importantly, write, write, write and then write some more!

Is your story good enough?
That is a great question. What makes a story great?
A great story starts with each character having an extensive background, the more extensive their background, the more realistic the story becomes.
A great writer creates a world of their own, taking the reader into their world and leading them on a journey that they otherwise would have never experienced.
Find your character's motive.
If you know what drives your characters, why they are in the circumstances they are in, and how they will react to the circumstances and resolve the conflict, (making sure of course, it is all realistic!) then chances are, your story is great!

Don't forget to Be passionate! About your writing, Your life, Your story.
Be passionate in every area of your life - it will show in your work!
So, here it is; How I defy "Writer's Doubt".
Of course, writing is a work in progress.
But one of the most important things for you to remember is, "Creativity is an attitude of mind that develops with practice."
So, before you give up your writing, work at developing your creativity!

If you too want to join the Contest, click Here.
(But, hurry! It ends pretty soon!)

If you fight "Writer's Doubt" or have any other Writer's ailments, frustrations or concerns watch my blog for more ways to discover how to enhance your writing life!

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Post Coming Soon!

I am currently busy trying to meet a deadline, but I will be posting my first article soon!
So, please watch for it!

A little about Writing with Raven Snow:
I created this blog page to help struggling Writers overcome obstacles by giving them the tools and resources to help them become the Best Writer they can be!