The Doldrums Of Despairing Self Doubt
This post is prompted by author Alex Brightsmith’s excellent blog post on Goodreads, wherein she expounds on the power of a few simple well-chosen words in the right place. Oftimes, when I read a truly skilled author like Gaiman, Fox or Brightsmith, I am in awe at their ability to spin emotion out of perhaps five or six words.
“I could never do that,” I think, and promptly doubt that anything I’ve ever written or ever will write could be anything other than trite, cliché-ridden cack which uses stupid words like ‘oftimes’. For example, here’s Alex from that very blog post – “In its place [the line] is a howl against the world, but also a beam of light back into the story.”
‘A howl against the world’; such a telling phrase. I could never come up with a phrase like that. Or at least, that’s what I imagine when I’m cast adrift in The Doldrums Of Despairing Self Doubt. The DODSD don’t strike me that often, luckily, but I’ve been stuck in one for a few days now. Usually, the way to billow my writery sails and get moving again is to write something – anything – no matter how poor, but even that wasn’t working this time. I sighed a lot and took solace in Twitter.
Then I agreed to join in a flash-fiction collaboration by a group of rather fine writers, and a throwaway comment by one of them (Mona Bliss, take a bow) suddenly flung a gale into my metaphorical mainsail. I dashed off the story in an hour, really enjoying myself, and am now once again eager to get stuck into 1322 and my other projects. I’m not so bad a writer after all, I reckon.
So if you suffer from self-doubt, here’s what to do: either write yourself out of it, or find yourself a Mona.
(You’ll be able to read the story, ‘Crow and the Unicorn’, on here in a day or two.)