By taking a writing class this year, I have come to realize that neuroses and writers go together even beyond the realm of a Woody Allen movie. We doubt ourselves constantly. We read other people’s work, mostly to berate ourselves for not living up to their genius. We try and we get no feedback, and then we don’t try and we do fine. There is no magic elixir besides just doing the work.
I just read this week that when Elizabeth Gilbert was writing Eat Pray Love, one of the most recognized non-fiction books of our time, she had the same feelings of doubt. She writes, “When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as a strong a mantra of THIS SUCKS ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything. But I had a clarion moment of truth during the process of that book. One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows.”
Thanks, Ms. Gilbert. I needed to hear that. I just got to 70,000 words of my first novel and I am going to to keep chugging along, even though it may suck. It is not my problem. I will write to write. That in itself is enough.