I always, in jest, call myself the Queen of Trauma Drama for what I put my characters through. If I am honest though, I am the Queen of Self-Doubt.
I could be Freudian and blame it on my parents. I could blame it on years of school-age trauma. I’m sure I could dig into my past and find a wealth of things to blame it on, but I won’t. Why? Because it doesn’t matter what caused it, I have it.
Most recently I’ve been ignoring it when it came ot my writing. I ‘know’ I can write. I believe I’m talented in it. So the writing itself hasn’t been the cause. No, instead I’ve been traveling the web on my breaks. I’ve spent time at blogs of Agents and their assistants. I’ve read about ‘nitwittery’ and ‘auto-no’s’.
Hey, who needs to doubt the writing, when you can doubt your ability to find an agent and/or publisher, right? After reading one particular post about some auto-no’s I started doubting how to do my novel.
The word count is going to be very high, that can be considered an auto-no. Okay, I could cut the novel in half and end it in the middle. It’s a very good, if a tad bit upsetting ending to those invested in the characters.
If I cut the novel in half, I have to consider the fact that I’d really want to present it as a series then. Oops, wait. Those are auto-no’s too. Either way, this book is a series in my heart, so I’m still facing that.
I know I can’t write a query letter to save my arse. That’s not self-doubt, that’s fact. But, I also know I have help in that area. Of course there’s the “Can I get the novel done in time? I set a goal for *this date*, but will it be accomplished?”
Then, this Monday I was forced to face my own self-doubt when the admins opened the Elevator. In the elevator I would have to announce, for all to see, my goals. I would be expected to meet them. Checked up on.
I’ll tell you what, my biggest flaw is lack of follow- through. I’ve wanted to write a novel for years and never gotten past the first few pages. I make commitments for so many things that I’ve never followed through on. My ‘dreams’ always seem to fly away on the wind. Here, at Storycrafter’s, the whole ‘world’ I’ve found could see my imminent failure if I posted those goals.
Yesterday I made that commitment post with shaking hands. I stared at the screen for two hours before I hit ‘submit’. My own self-doubt almost prevented me from making a solid commitment to something I believe in with all my heart, my novel.
I won’t tell you that I ‘got over’ my doubt, because I didn’t. I still stare at my post and say, “What have I done?” But, I’ll tell you how I did manage to hit submit after two hours of debate.
I closed my eyes.
Looking for a profound statement? Sorry, none here. I was scared out of my wits to make a commitment not only to my novel, but to writing quarterly ‘other’ items to submit. I’d HAVE to finish that article on FTT. Not only that, but I’d have to come up with others.
I wish I could say I did it because I’d had an epiphany. It simply isn’t true. The same facts were present when I hit submit as when I was waiting. I still knew my husband, though he didn’t understand, supported me. I still knew that I had capable reader’s to assist me. I still knew that I’d have the support of Storycrafter’s. Those were never in doubt.
What happened was I faced the fact. The same one that made me finally audition for local theatre shows five years ago after years of dreaming of being onstage. A simple sentence told to me by a performer I met and still admire.
Nearly six years ago I told him of my doubts of being able to audition. Standing there, at the stage door on Broadway, he reminded me he hadn’t started dancing until he was twenty. Despite that, he was standing there in the most intensive dance show ever. Then he said the one thing I’ll remember forever.
“If you do it and fail, you’ll have at least done it. If you don’t do it, you’ll never know what it felt like. You’ll always wonder what could have happened.”
He was as right about my performance dreams as he is now about my writing dreams.
It’s not an epiphany. It’s a leap. Not a leap of faith, a leap into the pits of self-doubt. I dare say I became successful in performance. Now it’s time to focus on this leap.
At least I know I’m not alone.