We all know about, or at the very least, have heard about ‘Writer’s Block’, but have you heard of ‘Writer’s Doubt’?
In my capacity as host of The WRITE Word Show, I am honoured to interview and chat with a range of writers and authors from across the globe. People who have followed their deep-seated yearning to write their book. They have stepped up to the commitment, knuckled-down and dug-deep to weave stories to share with the World at large. Books to inspire, personal insights and wisdom to share, or a tall tale of mystery, intrigue or adventure. But one thing that crops up time and time again, when my incredible guests share their own writing journey, is their wrangle with self-doubt as an author.
So many people talk of writing a book, and not so many manage to realize this great dream.
It is not only a calling, but it takes discipline, determination and diligence to sit down and do the work. Create a book, whether it is a shorter non-fiction or novella, of a full-blown fictional heavy-weight — it takes time to craft the message, to give form to the characters, to concisely pull the parts together to provide the reader with a journey of learning or a story to transport them to another time and place.
Writing a book is a challenge.
A challenge to which many will not rise, and those who do, show great courage and fortitude of character.
When you ask many authors, they will tell you that writing the book is a journey — one of weeks, months or even years. It may have been fraught with periods of frustration when the ‘Muse’ takes her leave of absence. Perhaps it was cobbled together with stolen moments amid the demands of a hectic schedule; squeezed into the cacophony of life. Or, maybe, there is the luxury of time to bring ‘form’ to the symphony of words.
Every writer’s journey is their own unique experience.
However, ask many authors about their experience when the book is ‘birthed’ into the big bad World, most will own up to feeling overwhelming waves of emotions. Emotions that oscillate from abject fear to exhilaration; from pride in their accomplishment to a crippling doubt.
It is the vulnerability of opening the doors to judgement and critique.
Hours, days, years even of heart-wrenching work laid bare for all to scrutinize. For many authors, it may well have been a work of blood, sweat and many tears. Writing a book is such an emotional experience, which many liken to a pregnancy. The book is nurtured, developed and fiercely protected in the gestation period. Then, when it is ‘birthed’, there is a rush of satisfaction, followed by panic as doubts flood in.
I know this only too well, as I am one of those authors who rode this emotional rollercoaster when my first book was released (‘The Naked Knitting Club’). And, I know, that I am not the only one. It is something which plagues most writers.
Does it get easier with each book you publish?
For some it does, and for many others, it does not. We bravely bare our souls and await feedback from our readers. We re-read and find fault in our work. We are our own worst critic — harsh and nit-picking to the nth degree, with the perfectionist afoot as we beat ourselves up. Having support at hand, someone who helps you to see the truth of your accomplishment, is a must for any writer — your personal ‘cheerleader’ to coach you through the wobbly bits.
As much as I, for one, would wish to release emotional bonds with my book babies, I know that my doubts are all part of the author experience for me. I accept that nothing is perfect, and by accepting the imperfections, I am honing my craft. Each book I write is an opportunity for progression and improvement. I must also acknowledge that each book its unique mission, and I am merely the conduit, the channel, for the message or story to be born.
‘Author’s Doubts’ are part of the journey and must be recognized for what they are. Be aware of them, and release them before starting your next book journey. If we waited until every word, every sentence and every comma was perfect; we would be denying the World. Imagine how many great literary masterpieces would never have graced our bookshelves if the authors had held them back waiting for perfection — that would be a tragedy.
So, dear writer/author take heart and enjoy the ride, as your path may be a little uncomfortable at times when the ‘doubt demons’ strike, but know that it is worth it, and the World will be a better place because you have pushed through the pain and discomfort to share your book baby.
The World needs you to step up, push your doubts aside and keep writing your books.