Self Doubts and Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel, Big Magic

Had a busy weekend this past time around. It was the other half’s birthday, PLUS Easter, so most of Sunday and Monday was spent away from home, so except for Saturday, I didn’t get much writing done.

I sat down at my desk on Saturday with the intention of working on the story…you know the one I told you guys all about? The one where I’m going to kill off one of my favorite characters? (gulp). Annd…of course, I ran into another snag.

You ever sit there and re-read what you’ve written and think to yourself: It’s crap. It’s total crap. It’s never going to come together. I’m sitting here just fooling myself. What am I doing? Why bother? I’m not as good as I think I am…

I listened to the doubts and I ran away from the computer and probably got a snack, (because that’s what I do lately, I stress eat.) And I didn’t get back to writing. I might have written a few paragraphs…if even.

I told my friend about it today at work and she reminded me of the fact that we all have those doubts, and it’s just a first draft, so you can always go back and re-work it. Which, of course, makes sense…but…its amazing how much a tiny bit of doubt is so crippling.

I recently listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and I think of that now. If you haven’t read it and need some writing encouragement, I suggest you check it out. The audio is great, too, as Gilbert herself reads it. It’s amazing. I could probably do several more blog posts just talking about that novel, and hey, I probably will, someday, but that’s not the point.

In the novel, she talks about how a lot of writers listen to the voice, that negative voice that tells us we are no good, that we are worthless, that our stuff is crap, and that we should just crawl back into our hole.

She mentions how some writers feel like they need permission to be a writer, that we almost need someone to tell us that yes, you are a writer, and that its okay to create, to fail, to have doubts…

Now, I’m just paraphrasing of course, and I probably twisted her words a bit, (I’m not good without a physical copy of the book in front of me,) but then she grants us permission to be a writer, and I love this!

I like this thought of permission to be a writer. We all know, that in reality, we don’t NEED permission to create, but boy, do those doubts tell us otherwise! They tell us that we really are nothing and shame on us for trying! I love how Gilbert gets to the heart of the matter with just those few words.

The doubts make us feel like we aren’t worthy, but that’s so untrue! And by telling us that we have permission right off the bat, makes me realize how silly doubting can be, and I want none of that!

I’m sure more doubts will creep in down the road, (they are bound to, it’s me,) buut, I am reminded of this ludicrous idea: that I need permission to create. As if anyone can stop my creative process?! As if I can’t create when I want to?!

I love the challenge that Gilbert inadvertently creates with her words. Me? Need permission to create? Yeah, right! I’ll do what I want!

It’s so much easier to be the self-righteously offended, than to let those doubts creep in.

Have you guys read Gilbert’s new novel? Any thoughts on it? Do you ever have doubts, too?

Hope everyone has a great night! Happy Writing!

2 thoughts on “Self Doubts and Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel, Big Magic

    • Thanks so much! And I think I felt the same way about the book…it was just the words I needed to hear at just the right time. I wasn’t lying about the many posts I plan to write about it! Thanks so much for the follow. 🙂

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