The clouds of doubt

Joe’s Post #69

storm cloudsWhere did this come from?

Tuesday, I was flying high after a meeting with another writing group. The more I talked about my novel and my adventures last weekend, the more I became convinced I was awesome and amazing and had a pretty good story. In hindsight, it may have been the toxins in the anchovies on the pizza.

Then, yesterday, I finished the redo of my 10 pages for submission and tweaked the last commas on my query. All of it seemed good to go.

Then today, wham, like a house of cards, it all came down. Were my newly written 10 pages really better than the old ones? Did I even have a story that anyone would want to read? Ever? Should I even be doing this? Maybe I should be an accountant? Or a lion tamer?

Funny how one day I can feel like I’m the smartest guy in the line-up at McDonalds, the most handsome guy in Langley, and the best writer in the world. But then, the very next day, the exact opposite. Bah!

I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I’ve been a complete failure as a writer. Hope of success drained away like rainwater down a sewer grate and I was left with an awful, empty feeling. 

But the truth is that the only way I fail, really fail, is if I give up.

So I won’t. It’s that whole stubborn or stupid thing. I have both in spades.

At the day’s end I realized one thing. Tomorrow will be another day and this feeling of fear, of being down, this too shall pass. It may require a martini or two (the mortar upon which houses of cards are built), but I’ll find a way back to my happy place.

family guyNow, I need to go back to the McDonald’s line and quote me some Nietzsche (or Family Guy).

6 thoughts on “The clouds of doubt

  1. Ah Joe……. I’ll give you the famous Aaron Sorkin quote… “This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy yells up, “Hey, can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts out, “Father, I’m down in this hole, can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. “Hey Joe, it’s me, can you help me out?” and the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid, now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”
    I’ve been there and I know the way out…. don’t give up!!! (I like that the friend walking down the street is named Joe :))

  2. Welcome to the post event let down. It happens to me after every writing conference, whether I’m learning or presenting, every dance performance i ever did and every guitar exam I ever played. It’s normal and you will get over it – but it’s hell to go through while it lasts. FWIW, it happens to every artist after a major up – whether its a conference, opening, performance run or launch. Just part of the dues we pay for being creative and growing in our art. (And yes, what you do is art. Do not argue with me on this.)

  3. Love your sense of humour. A spiritual counsellor told me that you should accept the feelings that come as resistance makes things worse. In this moment you are safe, whatever else is happening outside of this moment is whatever else…I don’t think you could stop writing even if you tried. I know Sean would still be writing even if he didn’t get published because he HAS to. Go back to McD’s & stop second guessing yourself!

  4. I clicked “like” on this post, but it was a lie. I don’t like this at all, Joe. Not at all. You were born to write, and you are f’ing GOOD at it. So I hope your moment of doubt has already passed and you’ve returned to your senses … especially your sense of happiness and sense of optimism! You have some good advice from commenters above, I don’t need to add more.

    But I will add one ‘truth’ (according to me) from decades of making my living in a creative profession where egos are easily bruised and confidence – even among the gifted and successful – is fragile. Creative endeavours of any sort do depend on a certain amount of faith – belief in the absence of evidence. Belief in yourself. I’m not big on faith when it comes to religion, but when it comes to writing I don’t think you can get by without it.


  5. The essence of your post is this:
    “The only way I fail, really fail, is if I give up. So I won’t. It’s that whole stubborn or stupid thing. I have both in spades.”
    Doesn’t that say it all? You just answered your own doubts. Brush them away like cobwebs that don’t belong in your universe!

  6. Ah, Joe. Tigger has a different take on this. A writer is always ‘on’, you cannot escape a moment into some different persona. So, like everyone else in this universe, by implication, your writer persona will, inevitably, share the roller coaster ride of life that all of us share. It is about writing, but it also is not. It is about capital ‘L’ Life. Sometimes I think we’re just supposed ot have these ‘low’ moments so we remember what our characters feel like when life sucks. So, pretend it isn’t you, write it down. By the time your done, I bet you feel better already.
    PS — you have a lot of cheerleaders on your sqaud. Go Joe Go!

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