There’s an interesting dynamic in the writing process that nobody talks about. It’s something that happens to all who engage in creative endeavors. Doubt and insecurity raise their ugly heads and attack at the most inopportune times.
“What the heck am I doing?”
“Who am I to think I can write effectively?”
“I’m just making a fool of myself.”
Inner demons raise their ugly heads and fill our thoughts with doubt and fear which threaten to paralyze the creative process and reinforce childhood inadequacy. These nasty thoughts seize control of our brains and cry mutiny.
For me, this has become a regular pattern in my creative process. There have been times, perhaps in the past, when those thoughts won and prevented me from pursuing projects and testing dreams. But no more. I’m on to them.
When I push forward through doubt and insecurity and complete what I’m working on anyway—good things happen.
I find joy in exploring new genres.
I grow as a writer.
I get published.
I’ve learned that when these doubts and fears surface, they are often precursors to a breakthrough. Instead of giving into their taunts or letting them tie my gut into knots of anxiety, I simply notice that they are there and move on. These ghosts from the past have no weight unless I give it to them.
A similar dynamic happens when I’m find myself stuck in the middle of writing something new. When my brain can’t seem to vocalize what my gut is feeling it seems like nothing is happening. But if I sit with the nothing, instead of being afraid of it or making judgments about it, there can be sudden breakthroughs of brilliance.
All of us wrestle with doubt and insecurity, it’s part of life. Freedom comes when we stop giving those thoughts the power to control us or affect our behavior. We do that not through resistance, but acceptance. We acknowledge the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, maybe even get curious about them, but then move forward in spite of them. When they have nothing to stick to because we don’t engage (don’t take what they are suggesting as truth), they eventually fall silently away.
Don’t let negative thoughts bind up your creative process. Work in spite of them. Then, new horizons of creativity and expression will open up before you with surprising and positive results.