An interesting exercise when you are starting an endeavor is to make a list of all the people who really believe you can do it and all of the people who really believe that you can’t – as well as all the people who fall in between. For argument sake, I will use a six point scale to describe my list when I started my first novel and most of the way through the writing process:
- Really believe that you can do it: My two daughters & my dog.
- Think that you probably can do it: My wife and a few friends. Me sometimes.
- Wonder if you can do it or not: Me sometimes. A few more friends.
- Think that you probably can’t do it: Me often.
- Really believe that you can’t do it: Me sometimes.
- Completely indifferent: 7.163 Billion minus 8 people and a brown dog. (i.e.The rest of the world.)
I wonder if this is the same for other people. From my experience with teachers and students in schools, I am guessing it is so. I was in my 40s when I wrote the novel, having already successfully passed a few milestones in my life, yet I oscillated between points 2 to 5 regularly. How must it be for a student in school? The interesting thing about the exercise is that I guarantee there is only ever one person on No. 5 and that is you/me. I thought about this a lot during the writing process, and the knowledge helped me combat that self-doubt protective reflex that is the bane of our creative spirits. Remember that you are alone, but only within the restrictive bubble of your own self-doubt.
You really should read Oystermouth Whispers, by the way. A novel by my favorite author.