31 Mar That Dreaded Thing Called ‘Self Doubt’
I recently read somewhere that if you are extremely passionate about something, then that thing is probably ‘your calling’.
How many times has it happened that we really care about something deeply, only to not pursue it seriously?
I know it happens to me frequently enough. The most recent instance being my desire to write a novel. It has been on my mind ever since I quit my job. That means almost six months now. It took me long enough to discover my calling for writing. Each time the thought was that I’ll get down to it some day, soon enough. Each time I convinced myself that I wasn’t yet ready for it. Each time I persuaded myself that my writing skills needed further improvement. (They still do!)
Even after I decided to turn a full-time writer, the ‘learning to write better’ phase continues. I had earlier decided to participate in NaNoWriMo in November and I started my preparations for it. Every article I read about writing a novel, character building, plot development, flow and sequence of narration, book publishing and marketing gave me new insights but not the assurance I needed.
A 3-day workshop in Alibaug followed by an Authors Meet in Mumbai gave me a huge burst of inspiration but again, not the confidence. In fact, right after coming back from Mumbai I had been at my happiest. I had had a whale of a time – making new friends, imbibing new learnings, and those experiences enriched me as a person. I was raring to go. I was looking forward to writing about my experiences and sharing all my photographs. And yet, nothing got done. I couldn’t manage to even read the books I had brought back or blogs I had discovered, let alone write – that increasingly bogged me down.
Write, Write, Write. I remembered the advice shoved down every new writer’s throat. And here, I hadn’t written for over a week. Not to mention the money factor. Still unable to earn a penny through my writing, I felt even more useless and worthless. The guilt gnawing at me, I felt further down in the dumps.
It had become a vicious circle. The lack of confidence was causing me not to write. Not writing was causing the lack of confidence. I didn’t think myself to be ready. I had already signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, for the April challenge. I hadn’t yet figured out the hows’ and whats’. Needless to say, it made me even more apprehensive.
Was I already setting myself up to fail? If I hadn’t yet figured out what to write about, what would be the end result?! In fact, would I actually be able to write at all? Were all these self-doubts proving to be my downfall? These thoughts plagued my mind.
You are what you think, they say. Here, I was well aware of my state of confusion and doubt.
They also say angels come in various disguises. Mine were my parents and my writer friends. They rallied around me and upon their advice, I stepped away from it all. (Thank you all!) That break was all I needed, I guess.
After every high, comes a low. After every sunset, comes a sunrise.
But what was meant to be a 2-day break from blogging/writing turned into a 10-day disconnect as the break stretched on. (In case you were wondering, this was also why I hadn’t written any new story in the past few days.) One day more, I thought every day.
Until that one moment, when I just decided to do it. It was exactly like that – as easy as the snap of a finger. I was going to write a novel, I decided. Good or bad, didn’t matter. I would take the challenge and see where I go with it. I would try. I would give it my best shot. I may fail. I shall pick up myself and try again. And try I shall, until I succeed.
Writing has given me my biggest gift ever – my true calling; true friends and some of life’s best lessons.
Give it your best shot!
I am glad to have broken out of this particular spell of self-doubt. I know it will strike again. I shall deal with it and beat it yet again – whether through humour or binge-watching movies and TV shows.
Have you experienced such a moment? How did you deal with it? Share your feedback and experiences via the comment box below.