Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Doubt is just a form of procrastination"

I was cleaning out some old magazine when I came across the December 2006 Writer's Digest magazine. I flipped through it just to make sure there wasn't anything in there I wanted to save for reference, advice or motivation when I realized there were some articles I hadn't read the first time.

One of those articles was "The Novelist's Survival Kit" by Jordan Rosenfeld. I haven't written a novel yet, even though I've started quite a few. The whole thought of writing and sustaining something that long daunts me. I guess that's my inner critic whispering those things in my head. That's why when I read his section on 'Killing Your Critic" and the worlds "Doubt is just a form of procrastination" I had to stop and really think about that.

One part of me says I don't care what I write. I know I'll write crap. But I also know I'll rewrite that crap and hopefully make it better. So I never thought I'd doubt my writing. But now I'm not so sure. What if I'm not any good? What if I write crap and after I rewrite it, it's still crap?

I've always wanted a "thing" all my own when I was growing up. I always got my sister's hand me down clothes. Every year my mother would make us matching Easter dresses so I always got to wear the same dress twice. I took dance lessons whereas my sister did not. But she got to be on the drill team when I didn't make it. People said I had a good voice but not as good as my older brother's. Even regular stuff in classes was hard when the teachers you get had both of your older siblings and loved them. Writing was something that neither one of them did.

This was going to be my "thing". This was something that I could say I was better at then them. But the more I sat and thought about why I hadn't written a novel and pursued my "thing" as well as they pursued theirs, made me realize I have a lot of doubts about writing.

It's not about whether I know how to write, 'cause I do, but more about can I do it well? I have finished stories that I've edited and rewritten to the point I think they're worse than the first draft. Maybe I can write but not edit. I know I'm probably putting the cart before the horse but I can't stop thinking about it.

Why haven't I written anything? Because I procrastinate. Why do I procrastinate? Because I doubt myself. I should just throw myself in it and let those doubts be damned, but that's a hard thing to do. But this is my year to change as a writer so I'm going to have to do something about it.


Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

I'll bet you would surprise yourself with what you could write. I hope you'll give yourself a shot!

pengwenn said...

Thanks. I know everyone says this in January that "this year will be diffeent" but I'm tired of always talking about change and doing nothing about it. Writer wannabes annoy the crap out of me. And I'm tired of being one of them.