Writing Advice: Banish the Doubt

Photo from declarehope.org
Photo from http://declarehope.org

When it comes time to sit down and do some writing, doubts may creep into your mind. Maybe you’re worried that you don’t have time to be writing and should be working on something more “important” instead. Maybe you’re worried that your story is horrible and that you don’t even know how to write. Maybe you’re just feeling uninspired and feel like your time might be better spent with Netflix.

Well, I’m here today to tell you to banish those doubts. This piece of advice goes along with last week’s post, which implored you to stop worrying about other things and just write. A big part of getting to the point when you can just write is banishing any doubts you may be experiencing. I know from experience that the voices of your doubts can be strong, confident, and hard to ignore. There are many good ways to ignore those doubts, but I think one of the best is to remember that they happen to everyone.

In a recent pep talk for National Novel Writing Month, Kami Garcia — co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series — discussed these doubts as well. What she had to say might help you rebut the voice of your doubts when you sit down to write:

Most writers are “too busy” to write. We have spouses, or children, or dogs, or cats, or gremlins we’re responsible for. Some writers even have another full-time job that (gasp) has nothing to do with writing. Yet, they still write. Instead of finding the time to write, you make the time to write.

As far as having a plot that sucks, welcome to the first draft of every idea I’ve ever had. If you don’t believe me, ask one of my writer friends; most of them have endured at least one of my sobbing phone calls, during which I insist that my book is broken beyond repair.

And the muse? I have no idea who has one, but if anyone does, I’d like to know so I can stage a kidnapping.

While it’s wonderful to have an MFA, you don’t need one to be a writer. At the end of the day, the only thing you need to be a writer is an idea and a pen. Your job is to write the best song, poem, story, or book you can.

Basically, there are a million reasons for you to not write a book or poem or short story. You could ruminate on those reasons forever and never get any actual writing done. Or, instead, you could acknowledge the fact that every artist has felt those doubts and ruminated on those reasons. And some of those artists have pushed past the doubts and have created anyway. They have something to show for it. The question is — do you want to be safe and pay attention to your doubts, or banish those doubts and have something to show for all of those creative ideas bouncing around inside your head?

You have the tools, you can make the time, and your ideas are just as valid as anyone else’s. Happy writing!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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2 thoughts on “Writing Advice: Banish the Doubt

  1. yvonneleach2014 January 13, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    This was a really helpful blog post…it is so easy to be hard on ourselves as writers.

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