I’ve always had trouble believing in myself… Or more specifically; that I can really do this writing thing.
It took many, many years for me to really have a go at it. The novel I started working on last September is the one that has finally stuck and I’ve finally hit the 50k mark on my first draft. That’s about 49k more than I’ve ever written for a book idea. It’s taken me roughly 8 months to get here and I really hope it doesn’t take me another 8 months for the next half. BUT even if it takes me another 2 years to turn the last page and to be able to say, “I’m done. This is it. My first book is complete,” what’s important is that I started and I finished. It would mean that I managed to believe in myself enough for all that time to actually achieve my goal.
If you’re a writer too then you’ll know the tremondous effort and commitment it takes to create your characters and plot, and to literally just pick an idea and try to build it into something that makes sense, is enjoyable and memorable. Especially if you have other responsibilities, like a day job or kids – because now you have time limitations too (not to mention a lack of energy). But you keep going. That’s why we call ourselves ‘writers’. We write. Whether we’re good at it or need some more time and practice is another matter.
So tell me, what happens after you spend countless hours pouring your head, heart and soul into your work, you beat yourself up then overcome the doubt (often on a daily basis), you tell yourself you got this and you dream about the success that might be waiting for you at the end of your finished manuscript… Then someone (whether it’s family or a friend) comes up to you and says something along these lines:
“You’re a shit writer. You will never succeed. The world doesn’t need anymore novelists. Why is it taking you so long? Get a real job.”
What do you do? What do you think? What do you even say?
Does it give you more drive to keep going and be better than before? Or does it put you in a slump and you end up thinking they might be right, I’m never going to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King anyway?
I say fuck it. Whoever thinks that they can try to put you down like that and try to kill your self belief – the one you’ve spent years struggling with – can truly just fuck off.
Writing is a hard, time consuming, stressful, and often ego-killing job. But it’s also become my favourite thing to do. It can be freeing, fun and an escape for the writer – and one day, the reader.
Don’t stop doing what you love just because of the thoughtless, hurtful and spiteful words of someone who lacks empathy and understanding.
Be you. Believe in your talent. Believe in your dreams. Believe in what you write. Please, don’t give up.