The Plague of Self-Doubt

Today I received a very much-needed message from a dear friend of mine. We have been friends for 30 years (not bad considering I’m only 34) and he got in touch on Facebook to wish me a happy birthday for tomorrow. Another year slips by etc…

Anyway, we were exchanging messages and the conversation turned when he asked me if I was still writing. I told him the usual excuses I’ve already outlined on this blog, saying I was giving it a go and trying to get back into it, hard to find the time and so on.

What he replied was something of a surprise. To paraphrase, he said that I have got where I have with determination after a few ups and downs, and have always shown talent as a writer. That I had to let go of the self-doubt and just believe in myself.

Which was a lovely thing to hear, and reminded me why this guy has been such a good friend over all these years. But what it also reminded me was how important it is to have someone who believes. Writers are constantly plagued by self-doubt. An extra dimension for me is that I feel I’m letting my partner down in some way by toddling off to write for a couple of hours in the evenings. Most of this guilt is because we work different shifts every day and only on the odd occasion get evenings off together. And then I go off to write rather than spend time with her, and all for something which will probably only ever get read by me.

But she is very understanding and very supportive. If at any point she had said to me, ‘Is it really worth it, this seems like a waste of time’, a lot of my heart for it would have died there and then. I have enough trouble not getting deflated at the best of times. So now, I have to try and repay the faith, which will add extra pressure as I don’t want to let them down. Because then their faith will have been misplaced.

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