A writer’s brain is a crazy thing. It allows you to come up with beautiful words and worlds. Where once there was a blank page, an hour later a concrete story can be forming that will transport a reader to another time and place. It really is amazing what happens once that creativity is unleashed.
While there is a certain sense of joy and satisfaction from creating a new tale, the writer brain can also hold us back. Being creative is one thing, sharing that creativity can be another animal entirely.
See, here’s the thing. The story feels safe as long as it’s sitting on your hard drive, locked away only for you (and perhaps a few trusted readers) to enjoy. But when you’re done with that manuscript, you’re supposed to push it out into the world. Share it with the masses and hope they love your work. That’s why writers write, for the readers. Correct?
While this may be true in theory, actually putting the work out there is a different thing. A little annoying voice can creep up on you and whisper in your ear a mass of dreadful things.
It’s not good enough.
Your book can’t even compare to the work of…(insert favorite author here).
The plot and characters are bland, and so on.
Your brain, while being this amazing and incredible font of creativity, can also become a debilitating force, creating the evil monster called doubt. It can block out the blood, sweat, and tears poured into a manuscript, and turn the work into something you feel is not worthy to share.
As a writer you have two choices when it comes to doubt: succumb to its power or fight back with everything you have. But how do you fight back when the brain’s power to influence, and convince you that your work sucks, is overwhelming? Realize this: your belief in your own creativity can be even more powerful. Recognize that your work is NOT going to please everyone. That it’s okay to have doubt and worry – ALL writers do – from the debut authors to the most seasoned writers. It’s a work hazard you must understand and, sad to say, embrace.
When I feel doubt starting to slither into my mindset, I do everything I can to get out of my own head. I take a walk, listen to music, or grab coffee with a friend. When that doesn’t work, I turn to the writing community. Sharing your doubt and worry is normal, and if anyone can understand that feeling of unease it is your fellow authors.
The key to all of this, is remembering feelings of doubt, worry, even perhaps regret, are normal for a writer. Creativity is always subjective. It’s a part of the job you have to understand and accept. Getting out of your own head for a while may be difficult, but it allows you to get some perspective on the world. It may even spark a new idea that helps you push past the doubt and create something beautiful and new!
What about you, fellow writers? How do you get out of your own headspace when doubt starts to linger? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!