It has been a few weeks since my last post and I would like to say, oh I just forgot or something like that, but in all seriousness I thought about it daily. I thought, I need to write, a blog, a chapter. Something. But I just couldn’t. I had let a small voice somewhere inside my head tell me that who the heck did I think I was trying to write. Even though I have always loved to write, I was never really good at it. I have folders of stories and poems I wrote as a child. Then, I have folders of essays written in High School with less than perfect grades. My High School English teacher, Mr. Chaney, who was also our Theater director, would tell me my sentence structure was abysmal. I would cite Faulkner’s certain books that also lack structure or correct punctuation and he would say, well he had poetic licence. This lead me to believe that in order to be a writer I was going to have to apply for a licence. A poetic licence. I just recently got my driver’s licence. How many licences must one have to become an adult. And that is the first time I have ever admitted that out loud. Yikes. Needless to say, my best friend, Annette was my MVP in English because she would help edit most of my papers. Even the year I announced that every essay I would write that year would be titled and tied into a Jimi Hendrix song in some way. I did it. Mr. Chaney wrote, “You’re stretching it” only once. If that doesn’t take creativity then I will turn in my “poetic licence.” Mr. Chaney was one of those teachers who molds you. He was one of the few teachers who also inadvertently taught me how to give constructive criticism. He was truly great and you would never find someone who had him who would disagree.
I digress. But I always think about this when I begin to doubt myself. I know my writing is better than it was in High School. Although it is not near perfect. I have learned a lot from people editing my work beginning with Annette all the way to my coworkers when I worked at the Witte. Thank you, Sarita, Rebekah, Alana….. So when I feel this way it takes a bit to snap out of it and remember, this is just a blog and authors have editors.
Doubt is no doubt, evil. When it begins to creep in you feel awful and worthless. As soon as it touches one part of your life, it will soon reach others. I was feeling doubt about my writing. Soon, I was in full on panic and doubt that our garden would work and I was certain all the chicks were dead in their eggs. There was 0 optimism coming from me. Unfortunately, this is probably the number one thing I suffer from, severe pessimism. It takes a conscious effort to not be Debbie Downer. I always anticipate a problem, which might be why one of my strengths is problem solving. In the back of my mind I am always coming up with plan B, C, D and sometimes E. Perhaps that is harnessing doubt into something good and productive.
So how do you pull yourself out of that funk? Sometimes it is the words of others. At church on Easter Sunday we dropped Wyatt off at the nursery and walked in to sit down. Then we were greeted by a good friend, who said to me, “How’s my favorite author?” I think I laughed. Because no one has ever addressed me as such. Or maybe they had, but I think it was this specific time I needed to hear that. It was that comment, which I’m sure Phil didn’t even think about, that reverberated in my head for these rest of the day. Author. Yes. I can be that. Then we got home and the chicks were hatching. Monday and Tuesday we made significant headway on the garden. I am sure I don’t have to wax poetic on how Easter and Spring bring about hope and renewal and such, we all know that. But it was odd timing don’t you think? On Easter all the doubt fizzled to a silent ghost. I felt renewed.
Monday, I began making notes in my head about this blog because I felt like these words/feelings may be helpful for someone else. I was getting ready for bed, it was a long day and I thought I was going to write after Wyatt went to sleep (which did not happen because I also fell asleep). I try to keep my nightstand clear of craziness, but I was plugging in my computer to charge so I could write later and I was rearranging. I have a photo of me holding Wyatt in the hospital, a box Kleenex, a lamp and an inspirational quote thing that my good friend Helen gave me as a gift. It is one of those that you change the card everyday. I switched the card and it said, “Start by Starting.” Meryl Streep. Ok, yes, queen of all actresses, I will start…by starting. How apropos.
What would my inspirational quote be for someone struggling with self-doubt? Maybe, inspiration can be found all around you. In the people you love. In the actions of others and in the nature around you. Keep your eyes open and looking outward. Stop looking down.
Because sometimes we need a little inspiration to bring us out of the dark of doubt.
Photo by Jennifer Blanton (my talented sister-in-law) this is me on Easter already feeling lighter.