One of the hardest things, for me, about being a writer is learning to push through moments of self-doubt–those awful late night (or early morning, or mid-day) moments when you’re convinced that nothing you write will ever be any good.
In those moments, I like to remind myself of a TED talk by Richard St. John, where he argues that one of the secrets to success is to persist. Especially, we have to persist through CRAP:
I also find a lot of comfort in the following quote by Ira Glass (many of you may have seen this before):
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
In other words, the fact that I don’t feel good enough yet matters less than the fact that I keep trying. And the fact that I know I’m not great yet means that I do know what good writing looks and feels like–and that means that someday, if I keep trying, I may just get there.
What about you? What helps you get through moments of self-doubt?