But it’s okay, I plead. I’m being creative, right?
I can’t remember who said it first, but writing a book is a lot like thinking you left the oven on—all the time. The characters are perpetually inside, shouting to be let out, and it’s only through getting words onto the page that the urgency subsides to tolerable levels.
The year I wrote Binding Program was insane. In addition to teaching full time, coaching football, and waiting tables five nights a week; I had three little kids to take care of. But the need to write—to get the voices out of my head was so strong that I was willing to forego sleep to get it done. I can honestly say it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but not writing would have been much harder.
Even so, I think it’s common for writers to lose faith in themselves. So much of what we do happens in solitary confinement, making it easy to get lost in your own head. So, any writer who doesn’t occasionally doubt their own work is either delusional or gleefully naïve. This is why self-doubt is such an important tool in any self-respecting writer’s arsenal. It forces you to temper your prose until it is fit for human consumption.
Just be careful to keep self-doubt at arm’s length so it doesn’t transform into self-loathing. That’s not good for anybody.
And always know that whether you write for yourself or others, it's a way to stay sane. So often, writing can be the release valve that lets all the crazy out of our heads. So go on, find a quiet spot and talk to the people that have taken up residence inside your skull. With a lot of hard work and self-reflection, you can finally coax them to come out.
Thanks for reading.