Friday, August 14, 2009

Infliction of Self Doubt - A Writer's Tale

It’s been a difficult writing week. Every time I sat down at the computer I’d write a sentence or two and think, “Wow, this is really terrible writing.” I know I'm not the only writer who has been inflicted with self-doubt. In the midst of this kind of negative thinking it feels like you are in a torrid black whirlpool that’s sucking you in and you’re trying your best to keep your nostrils from permanently sinking under. Or at least that’s what it feels like for me.

I'm working on about three different projects, and I got this same feeling no matter which project I tried to undertake. What do you do when you get into this mindset?

I spent the week reading. I finished Angela’s Ashes (brilliant) while laying out at Fuller Lake at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. I just started Amy Bloom’s Away, which was probably the perfect book for me to read because it takes place in the 20s and one of the projects I would like to start takes place in the 20s. I have not even started the research for this one yet because I’ve been too daunted by the amount of research I’d have to do and overwhelmed by the scale of the project I have envisioned. But reading Away is slowly inspiring me to get going on that research.

After a nice long workout and some yoga this morning, I was determined to make headway in at least one of my projects. And I did – I almost have a complete first draft of the story I'm writing with John Ulsh.


Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

It sounds as if you might actually be moving right along if one of your projects is that close to having a first draft!

But I have learned that exercise, and getting away from my desk some help me as much as sitting there slogging through.

Creativity begats creativity so I try to take in some culture or do something creative to get my brain cells fired up!

I've felt much the same way you have lately. Some days it is just a struggle to figure out what comes next.

Anne Greenawalt said...

It is a struggle some days. But I've decided that it's the struggle that makes it so rewarding in the end.

Have you ever seen the movie A League of Their Own? There's a great part in it when Gena Davis is quitting the team because "It just got too hard." And Tom Hanks says, "If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."

I try to remember this every time I think it's getting too hard, and it really helps!