Often when I’m trying to find time to write or trying to decide what I want to write, I start to wonder why. Why do I want to write? I usually get past that question pretty quickly. I write because I love to. I always have. I always will. But then I delve a little deeper into the subject. I don’t always write just to amuse myself or entertain family members. I write because I want other people to read what I write. I want to sell my writing. I want to make money doing what I love to do.
And then the really big question squats on my head like a reeking vulture waiting to peck out my eyes. How audacious am I to think other people would want to read what I write, let alone pay money to read it? Who the hell do I think I am? And what’s the point of even trying if I’ll never be good enough?
I know I’m not the only writer who battles self-doubt. Many authors I know say every book they’re writing is total crap…while they’re writing it. Even Maya Angelou said, “Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’” But it’s not just a matter of having talent that spills out on the page like blood from an opened vein. These authors are successful because they also continue to hone their craft. They write and re-write. They edit. They listen to critiques and advice and they write some more. They never give up.
I constantly struggle with the tug-of-war between self-confidence and self-doubt. I know I can write. I’ve sold several short stories to magazines, so I know people will pay money for my writing. But deep down inside, that obnoxiously loud voice keeps asking me, “Who the hell do you think you are?” And it takes a conscious effort on my part to whisper back, “I’m a writer. I’m not the best writer I’ll ever be. Yet. But I’ll put in the time and work to learn my craft. I’ll write and I’ll edit and I’ll write some more. I won’t give up.”
Imagine if all your favorite authors thought they were being too audacious to assume anyone would want to read their books. What if every person in every creative field surrendered to their insecurities? We’d have no books, no paintings, no music, no sculptures, no…you get the idea. So maybe self-confidence is a good thing. It doesn’t mean I have excessive confidence in my abilities. It just means I have enough confidence to follow my passion and learn the skills necessary to improve any God-given talent I do have. Dictionary.com defines audacious as insolent, brazen and fearless. Trust me, I am none of those things. But it also defines it as daring, original and inventive. Those I can admit to. Holy crap! I AM audacious.