9
Sep
2019
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Writing like a River Flows

Overcoming Self Doubt as a Writer

Photo by Daniil Silantevon Unsplash

The next time you hear the voice of doubt as a writer remember that you are harder on yourself than anyone else could ever be. ~ Mary Alice

When you write you are digging a deep well. In the darkness lives all of your fears, doubts, and the prima materia that only you can mold into stories written in your unique style.

When I feel the pull of doubt — I look to natural metaphor, inner work, other writers and creatives, and my life experiences as inspiration that will diminish my fears and keep me writing:

The nature of writing

I live on the border of a wild, natural playground — the Olympic National Park. It is easy to lose track of time as I write sitting on a boulder by the Elwha river, overlook the Bailey Range on Hurricane Ridge, or witness the delights of Raven’s flight.

© Mary Alice Long

Library of dreams

My dreams help me to understand that I am called to be a writer, that through my dreams I will find the answers I seek, and that my Teacher is nearby, he has found me and wants me to do the work of a writer.

Write and you will find your answers

Your Teacher will find you — A male dream figuretells me that hewants me to use my talent and write well. I write in my dream journal, 

I know I can do it if I put the work in.

In the shadow of writers

For years I lived in the shadow of artists and then I married one! By the time I met Michael, I was beginning to understand that it was time for me to embrace my own innate creativity.

Today I find myself in the shadow of writers and artists who inspire me to write stories in my unique style: 

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.~Sylvia Plath

I’m a little anxious. How am I to bring off this conception? Directly one gets to work is like a person walking, who has seen the country stretching out before. I want to write nothing in this book that I don’t enjoy writing. Yet writing is always difficult.~ Virginia Woolf

Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty — describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember… Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Life experience

After writing a quick list of experiences that have been transformative in my life, I realize once again the importance of recording my stories and sharing them with readers.

I have many stories written and stored away in computer files and drawers. I have shared a number of the stories I have written in draft form as part of interviews or research studies. Self-doubt has kept me from sharing mystories in my own unique, writer’s voice. 

I know that I can find my way to sharing my stories if I put the work in.

Write. Rewrite. Read. Repeat.

How do you overcome self doubt as a writer? 

I would love to hear from you and send you my weekly letter.

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