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November 19th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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There will inevitably come a time as a writer when you are assailed by this.  I figured I’d do a post on this now because I’m currently in the midst of a tempest of self-doubt.  As you can tell by the florid and melodramatic imagery that will be peppered throughout.

Is this a writer feeling self-doubt?

Is this a writer feeling self-doubt? Image courtesy of Alex E. Proimos

So, I have written previously that it can be a mistake to look back over old work (twice, in fact – Matt), since a lot of the time, you will read it, wonder how the hell you convinced yourself it was any good, and want to burn it. 

Now, what happens when you think this about all your work?  What happens when you look at the whole body of your writing work and think ‘my god, it’s all worthless.  I’m worthless, what right do I have to call myself a writer?’  This is usually followed by a fainting like action onto the chaise lounge followed by bitter, bitter weeping.

It can happen.  It is a similar beast to writer’s block.  I would like to think I’ve been fortunate enough to not suffer from this.  No matter what, I’ve always felt that I’ve had something to write about.  But occasionally, malaise can set in.  I think this can occur more often if you write longer fiction.  You have to become entrenched in what you’re writing, long haul, and there can be long periods when you don’t actually write anything new, and just edit.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with editing, but sometimes you just want to write. 

Maybe that’s what’s up with me.  I have editors block.  I know I have stuff to edit, and it isn’t even heavy editing, but I just cant bring myself to do it.  The task itself is too much for me to contemplate.  Even though I have the documents open all the time on my net book, I can’t bring myself to look at them.  And this is when the self-doubt came crawling in, insidious, malign.

So how to get over it?  Well, the best way I guess is probably to just knuckle down and do it.  Set yourself a goal.  Or even a punishment.  ‘No food until I finish another chapter.’  Of course there is no way for you to monitor this.  Unless you literally chain yourself to the desk.  How else to beat the rut?  Any suggestions?

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