I talk a lot about practising your craft and that is because it’s true; by writing, we become better writers and it feels nice when, after a while, you look back over some of the older pieces you have written and find that you have vastly improved. It’s lovely to see how far you have come and it makes you feel like all the time and energy you have spent trying to get better is actually worth it.
However, writing is hard and no matter how much you practice, sometimes it can feel as though not very much is happening and that everything you write and, for that matter everything you have ever written can appear rather samey. It can seem as if nothing very much is happening and that you aren’t improving very much at all (even though you likely will be).
During those times, you may well feel as though you have embarked upon a worthless endeavour while in actual fact you have probably just wandered into a specific type of minefield, one in which I’m certain every writer has wandered at some point (I feel like I live there sometimes).
This is the minefield of self-doubt, where no matter which way you turn, or whatever you write, there is a voice in your head which pipes up and tells you that you’re rubbish. It tells you that you obviously can’t write anything worthwhile, because otherwise, you’d have written something astoundingly perfect already, after all, you’ve been doing this for ages.
The trick is to ignore that voice and keep on working. Nobody is perfect. Just get everything that you want to say or even just ideas out of your mind and down on paper. It can all be edited down and made sense of later on.
Don’t get me wrong, it can be very hard to ignore your inner doubter. It is a constant struggle for some, but it is definitely worth persevering regardless of what that voice tells you.
No matter what, do not give up. Keep writing because the payoff when you do get it right is incredible. Almost nothing can beat the feeling of things beginning to fall into place, especially if you have tried your best and worked hard.
It can sometimes feel like writing is nothing more than a collection of things that people are doing or saying in a given place because you can become disassociated from your work. Even if you have a strong grasp of the narrative or a definite direction or roadmap in your mind of what should be happening and when you can get lost and feel hopeless.
It’s all worth it though, and with practice (there’s that word again) you can learn to quieten that self-doubting voice down if not block it out entirely. With enough patience, you can sometimes find that you write something that might not be great or perfect, but in your heart and in your head you know it’s good. You know that you have discovered a little gem and if you work hard, and believe in yourself, you can polish it up into something special.
As always, thank you very much for spending your time reading my words. I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas/holiday/winter and have a smashing New Year
Until next time,