Self-doubt is the daemon that stalks most writers. It reads over your shoulder and hangs at your elbow, tugging at your sleeve like an annoying child trying to get your attention. Sure that child needs to be indulged at times but it also needs discipline. Self-doubt is no different.
Self –doubt is probably one of the hardest things to deal with while walking the path between want to be writer and actual published writer, and I doubt it ever really goes away. I am just starting out and I must admit that though my previous two posts were somewhat positive, I don’t feel like that all the time, most of the time I’m thinking “What the bloody hell do I think I’m doing? Who am I kidding? What do I know about anything? No one’s going to take me seriously!” Hmm… Can anyone relate to this, or is it just me?
This has been a constant struggle for me lately. I have a bit of theory behind me. I’ve recently completed the Post Graduate Certificate of Arts in Writing through Open University. It was really interesting and I learnt a lot, but it lacked some practical advice. Not that I expected a silver serving platter presented to me with a list of explicit instructions on what to do and how to do it but a few helpful hints and tips would have been handy. So now is the time for me to try and put all this theory into practice. Let the rejections begin!
The problem is that I have no idea where to begin. Exactly what do I have to offer? How am I any different to the other hundreds or thousands of graduates embarking on the same path? And not only graduates, but amateurs and ‘bloggers’ and anyone one else who thinks they have something to say and something to offer. As I keep wondering I sink further into a pit of despair with the devil smiling down at me.
I am lucky that I have a few incredibly supportive people to hold me up at times like these. They may not be able to help in the way I need, but they encourage me in a way that may be unconventional but effective. My mum is the best. Rather than give advice or make suggestions, she will say something like, “You can always come home if you need to.” Just that right there is enough for me to get my head out of my own arse and start looking at ways I can make all this work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home, but it is not where I want to be right now.
So I walk this path, taking little penguin steps, and asking everybody along the way how do I write a perfect pitch, what does it need to include, do you take unsolicited articles, how do I submit them, who do I send it to, can you send me information on your submission guidelines? And that is only the start of the hundreds of questions I have swimming in my head.
Now I feel like the annoying child tugging at the sleeve of editors and other writers trying to get their attention. With the devil not far from my side.