Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fighting the Doubt Monster

So here's the tricky thing about highly competitive occupations: Some days you feel like you will never be enough. I'll be writing along, as fast and well as I can-- loving the story and its complexities and loving the challenge of putting this grand adventure on the page--and then it happens. I catch up on the industry news or I dip my toes into some form of social media or another and there it is: The three book series that someone else sold while I'm still trying to get a proposal to work. Or yet another list of wonderful books which I'm not on. Or an event to which I wasn't invited. Or I read a review that is less than stellar. Or someone says, no, unfortunately, we couldn't budget that for you.

And suddenly I feel like I'll never possibly be enough. I started too late, or I'm just not good in the first place. I'm not smart enough or quirky enough. I don't have a fascinating narrative. My wardrobe is dirty yoga pants. The shelf life on me being labeled a prodigy has expired, and even if it hadn't, I was pretty ordinary to begin with. (my stellar Star Trek fan fic on yellow legal pads and reams of angsty unrequited love poetry aside. Cause that stuff is killer.) I am the Queen of Sucky who lives in Suckyville and that's how it is, you know? What did I expect? Who did I think I was? Aren't I looking at all those Instagram shots of all those people having fun and being uber cool while I'm struggling with this page I can't get right? If I posted right now, I would caption it:  #isuck

Yeah, whatever.
The truth as I see it: You don't have to be the smartest person in the room. You just have to show up and keep at it. And yes, some luck is often involved. (that's the scary part)

Wildly successful fashionista Diane von Furstenburg once said that she often feels like a loser. That in fact, according to her, all successful people HAVE to feel like losers sometimes or they don't get that creative, competitive fire in the belly that pushes them to do something new.

So yeah. I agree.
I think if you're not hungry enough of the time, you stop reaching high enough.
But what can you do when you feel less than enough?
What do I do?

I take a deep breath.
Sometimes I have to take another.
Or walk the dog.
Or buy a new coffee pot.
Or--yes, really -- do something nice for someone who is not me.

I remember that I did come to this later in the game and how freaking wonderful is that? I shifted course  and left a more comfortable niche and found the creative life. Being brave enough to do that has changed everything for me. I am very lucky.

Then I get to work on the one thing I can control--which is, of course, the work.
As Mark Twain once said and as I quote to myself quite often: The world owes you nothing.
But I owe the world my best work. I owe my readers my best work.

Going to finish this book now. You will see it in 2016. :)

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