“Not a Real Writer: How Self-Doubt Holds Me Back” by Lindsay Merbaum
I’ve watched people who were next to me at the starting line cross over into Multiple-Books-Published and Award-Winning territory while I lag behind, sweating and panting. When they are nice people, I am truly happy for them. When they are not, I hate their guts. But their success or failure has nothing to do with me personally. It’s not like there is a finite amount of books humanity can ever produce and every time one is published, my chances diminish. If anything, other people’s success should only encourage me: if they did it, so can I.
No matter what accolades or publishing credentials I accumulate, I will be myself and the work will be the work. It will be great or garbage regardless of whether or not other people want to publish and honor it.
Sometimes the most important work you can do as a writer is just living.
It can be a torturous, thankless process, but the act of storytelling is so essential to my identity that I’m not sure who I would be without it.
I’ve come to accept that my writer’s doubt is something I will probably never get over.
What I struggle to do now is to put writing first, which can be hard when you don’t already have a celebrated book or major award under your belt. How do you justify the time devoted to writing when it doesn’t put food on the table, when you don’t receive much recognition for your efforts? It’s easier to just binge-watch Netflix and not think about it.