Therapy with Story: How to deal with self-doubt and not freak out!

Me: Help me! I think I’m freaking out!

Story: So in other words it’s like every other day in your life? Okay, skippy, calm down and take a deep breath. What’s wrong now?

Me: I’m having trouble finding an entry point into this story. Grr! I’m starting to doubt myself and I can feel the doubt snowballing into a full-blown freak out.

Story: Doubt in this profession, or anything else you do in life, is insidious, I’ll give you that. But when you start to feel doubt about your ability to write, what you need to do is look back on your past and remember the successes you had and the other challenges you met and conquered. Don’t let the “now” dominate all the potential and talent you bring everyday to the writing table.

Me: But I’d rather freak out. I had a wonderful freak out planned.

Story: No, what you would rather do is feel sorry for yourself.

Me: Well. Yeah. But that still doesn’t help me get this story going.

Story: There are many solutions to your problem. Some writers start in the middle of the story and write out of sequence. In other words, they start with a portion of the story they feel more comfortable with and start from there. Perhaps you could try that.

Me: But that doesn’t work for me. Whenever I try and write a story out of sequence I lose the thread of the plot. It feels artificial to me.

Story: No problem. Every writer writes differently. Maybe you are not ready to write the story. Then again perhaps the story itself is not ready to be written. There are many different barriers you have to overcome when you write every story, even the stories that supposedly “write themselves.”

Me: So what do I do?

Story: Take it easy, first of all. Find that center of yourself where your confidence lies. You haven’t gotten this far on luck alone. There is talent and confidence there you have to tap into. So start the story slowly. If you hit a false start then start over. If you hit ten false starts then start over again. Writing is a creative process. There is no ABC protocol everyone follows to find the right path. Most of all don’t let the doubt overwhelm you. Writing is hard and doubt is part of the process in any artistic endeavor.

Me: Okay, I feel a little better now. I guess you’ve talked me off the ledge.

Story: Well, that’s a start.

Me: I am still feeling stuck, though.

Story: Why don’t you start the scene in the middle of an action sequence? That’s often a good way to get started.

Me: Hey…I hadn’t thought of that. Yes, that might work!

Story: See? I told you that you could do it if you just gave yourself a chance.

Me: You mean we could do it together. Thanks, story.

Story: My pleasure. Now get to writing.

Self doubt is often a problem for writers, but look to your past success and inner confidence to combat it.

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