I had a super pompous (and uber-verbose) title for this post. Something that would seem at once both clever and wise with undercurrents of hidden depths.
I deleted it.
Because sometimes simple is best.
I'll be honest, though. Some days I don't know what's best. I look at my writing, and I wonder if maybe I'm delusional. Maybe I drank the Kool Aid at a writer's conference somewhere along the line and became convinced I had a great and shining gift when really all I had was a fleeting piece of inspiration--here one day, gone without so much as a by-your-leave the next. Maybe I'm not the real deal.
Or if I am, maybe I'm not enough of the real deal.
Doubt is a real and present companion to me as a writer. The good news is, I go months without feeling it. Months where I feverishly spill yet another idea onto the page. Months where the cold light of reality has yet to poke its unwelcome nose into my glorious story. Those are grand months.
But then, there are the months when instead of immersing myself into the telling of a new tale, I spend my time picking apart a story I already finished. Finding the flaws. Scouring every paragraph for any sign of weakness.
And I find weaknesses. Every time.
For me, finding the weaknesses isn't a surprise. I'm dedicated to the career I've chosen and that means I'm committed to honing my craft.
The surprise is the stealthy hit of doubt that sucker punches me in the stomach, whispers to me I'll never get it right, and settles onto my shoulder like it's lived there always. I hate doubt. If I'm not careful, I can let it steal my resolve, hijack my imagination, and strand me in a creative wasteland.
But I love doubt, too. Because doubt forces me to take another, deeper look at what I've done. It calls me to push myself harder to see what else I'm capable of doing. And it refuses to let me rest until I'm sure I've done my best.
Living with doubt is part of being a writer. Maybe its part of being human. It can either paralyze us or push us into action. Personally, I've always been a fan of action.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some doubts I need to go prove irrevocably wrong.