As I sit down to write this letter, you are already trying to take over. You want to sit and type up a matter-of-fact document that clearly delineates why I can’t and shan’t be a writer, like a pessimistic version of Oh the Places You’ll Go.
Your story is cliché.
You will never actually finish it, so don’t even bother getting your hopes up about publication.
You don’t know what you are doing.
No one cares about what you write.
This is what you are telling me, with gusto, all while I’m sitting here trying to write YOU a letter. It’s quite rude actually, and really distracting.
Doubt, you get the floor a lot. You belly up to the microphone and share how you see me and what you think of me and what failures you see happening in my future.
But it’s my turn now and I’m going to tell you how I see you. I see you for what you really are. I see you rustling up some bravado, some cruelty and certainty, and I know that it’s all a front. You are critical and harsh and determined because you actually care about me.
Doubt, I think you love me.
You want to protect me from the harshness of the world, so you try hard to get there first. You want to make sure I succeed, so you kick down any idea that might cause me to fail.
You don’t mean to tear down my confidence, stifle my dreams, and bring me to tears.
You mean to keep me safe.
So I guess, to my infinite surprise, this is a thank you letter. Thank you for looking out for me. Thank you for trying so hard to protect me and showering me with tough (I mean, really, really tough) love. Thank you for constantly grabbing me back when you thought I was inches from DEATH and DOOM and DISAPPROVAL (heaven forbid).
But you don’t need to do that anymore. Here, take a seat. Hold my hand. I’m serious, Doubt. You can take a breath. I know you will be with me always and it helps to know that you bring the crazy from a kind heart. But I’m fine. I’m going to be okay. I can take the disapproval, the failure, and the disappointment.
I can handle it far better than I can handle inaction, shriveling dreams, and a life unlived.
So have a cup of tea and look at these vacation brochures. I’m going to keep writing and keep helping other writers tell the best story they can.
Is it all going to be okay? Sure. Absolutely.
And even if it isn’t, I’m okay with that too. I promise.
Want to finally face your doubt? Sign up for the Build Your Writing Life Course where we will have a nice little sit down chat with your doubt and get you on your way to creating a writing routine that lasts. You can join the interest list here. (Course launches August 1st!)