A big factor for me in not writing, whether it be blogging, writing a short story, novel, poem, whatever really, is the feeling/fear that I have nothing interesting to say, nothing new to add to the world. Surely everyone’s already written about this subject or that story has already been told, and there’s bound to be someone who’s not only doing it, but doing it better than me. So with that in mind, why bother?
You can see how I’m, emotionally, putting up barriers before I begin. Writing (well) is hard enough, without an inner dialogue telling you unless you have a following of at least 1 million your blog is a waste of space, or if you can’t write like Tolkien, you shouldn’t even start…
I envy the boundless confidence of some of the “writers” I know. I know at least two who are self publishing. They have moments of insecurity, they want you to like their work of course, but they believe in their ability, they believe they have something special. So they have done what I fail to.
This lack of confidence is not simply frustrating, it’s actually debilitating. It is not slowing me. It is holding me back.
It goes back years. I remember as an angst ridden teenager writing pages and pages of heartfelt poetry about unrequited love and the misery of life, and I would refuse to edit it, thinking “A true poet can write a perfect poem first time.” I have read enough now to know that that is complete rubbish. The writers I admire spend weeks, months even years writing, editting. Ideas stem and grow over time and are tweaked and re-written until the final, finished product is on our shelves to be admired. But still, I am overwhelmed by that old feeling when I consider starting to write.
A friend once pointed out to me that even if I am never a Tolkien-standard writer (highly likely) that doesn’t mean I can’t be published. That doesn’t mean I can’t write stories other people would want to read.
Yet, even as I write these words, I feel that this post brings little of value to my readers (assuming you have any, says the voice). An insight into my meanderings and my troubles of course, but what value for you? I feel I should link to useful articles or quote other, more experienced, experts. But I know that if I do that I will get bogged down in hours of research and the post will be delayed or, more likely, never published.
So instead of trying to give advice, I’ll ask for it. How do you quash the nay sayer in your brain? How do you find value in what you are working on, when the world is full of people with opinions and stories to tell? How do you believe that you have something to add?