On Second-Guessing My Ability

This picture has nothing to do with today’s topic.



I second-guess my writing talent all the time. I live with a constant critic who has no trouble getting into my head (as it is already in my head) to tell me that my writing isn’t enough — not interesting enough, not good enough, not publishable enough. The voice insists that I am writing the same stuff I wrote back in sixth grade.

Despite this, I’m not adverse to critiques. In fact, I relish getting better. But I’m still afraid I’m not good enough.

I hear this is not uncommon to writers, that most writers feel a constant sense of doubt, and that we wouldn’t want to meet one who doesn’t. But I need to shake this sense of self-censure (and self-censorship) for my long-overdue re-editing of Gaia’s Hands. I have to believe in the book to make it better.  

So, how to believe? Cognitive journaling might help — counteract all the mind-reading (“the critics hate it”) and fortune-telling (“I’ll never get published”) and name-calling (“I’m so talentless!”) and awfulizing (“my stuff sucks”). 

I joke about a magic spell, because I feel like my writing career is cursed. Of all the things I pooh-pooh in my life, curses are not one of them. I half-way believe in curses, even as I suspect they’re an externalization of one’s failure scripts. I’m looking at how to break the curse.

I suspect, though, I will have to live with it and create despite it. And someday, when/if I get published, I will celebrate all the harder.


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