Self doubt is a funny thing. Sometimes it creeps up on you, and lets you fight it back with gentle reasoning.
Other times it creeps up and you don’t even notice it until it gives you a clock to the head and suddenly you’re sitting rocking in the corner wondering why you had ever been born.
Other times, it’s there almost as a gentle reminder that you can do better. If you try harder, you can do better.
Last Friday I got hammered by the second one. I was looking at someone’s blog on the internet and then I let comparison jump on in and before you know it, I’m a sobbing, blubbering mess sure that I have no talent at all, and why do I even try.
Good times really. 😉
I make no secret of the fact that every now and then I get a bit down on myself. I tell myself off, or judge myself really harshly. However the majority of the time, I’m pretty content with where I am in my life. My cup is full, and so are my days. I have good kids, an amazing husband, and I’m making friends to catch up with. I’ve got Jesus who gives me purpose. I have my writing, and I love it.
I love to write.
Other days I hate it. Some days it’s a terrible burden. Some days I wish I didn’t have so many words in my head, trying to claw their way out. Some days the love of writing is a curse. A pressure that builds and builds as I try and juggle the priorities in my life, and simultaneously tell those words that they can’t come first.
Some days, for that reason, I wish I didn’t blog. That I wasn’t always looking for the story in every adventure. That a trip to the beach could be just that; a trip to the beach.
And yet, if I’m really honest, more than anything, I love a story. I love symbolism and metaphors and finding the meaning. I love change and character development and problems that needs solving. I love the idea that the happy ending has to come, even when it doesn’t look like you thought it would.
And more than anything, I love that stories do not just exist in books and movies and long running TV shows. I love that they are visible every single day, and that because of blogging, and an incessant need to write, I’m always searching for them.
But sometimes I wonder if the love is enough. Is passion actually sufficient to get you anywhere, or does it need to be balanced with knowledge too?
I look at all the bloggers who are writers. And by saying that, I need to clarify that all of us are story tellers; all of us share. But there are some, whose passion for writing and the written word just pours out of them. It’s tangible. All they talk about is writing. They research the art of plot development, and ask questions about characters, they work in the industry, and they know what adverbs are. When Debbish was talking about adverbs the other day, I had to google it, because I had no idea what they were! I just use them.
There are writers that read all the time. And apparently, if Pinterest is anything to go by, that’s what writers do. These days I read blogs and my bible. And occasionally a mystery series I’ve been working through, which is really very ordinary, and totally implausible, but oddly addictive. That’s it. I don’t read like I’m ‘supposed’ to.
I love TV. I love series of shows and the poetry in them. I often choose TV over books these days, which is something I ‘shouldn’t do.’
I don’t listen to podcasts on writing, I don’t research articles on it, and apart from the difference between metaphor and simile, I have no real technical no how. In year 12, I took the ‘easy English’ because the thought of pulling apart text and looking for meanings drove me nuts. (Now it doesn’t sound so bad oddly enough 🙂 ). All I wanted to do then, and still now, was write stories. And I aced that class. 🙂
But now I’m 31, and all grown up and I’m starting to think that if I really want to do this seriously, maybe I can’t be so laissez-faire about the whole thing. Maybe I need to know my stuff. Passion is one thing; passion gets you a long way, but passion doesn’t, and can’t stand alone. It needs knowledge with it.
And therein lies the answer I suppose. Because a person who is passionate about something, will spend their life knowing it inside out. True passion, is supposed to burn like a fire they tell us. Consume us and break us and bend us to its purpose. And if passion is the fire, then knowledge is the wood that keeps it going. Knowing why you do what you do. How you do it. And perhaps most importantly, who you do it for.
And so I find myself sitting here wondering, thinking, questioning myself. What do I need to make this writing gig really work? What knowledge? Is it about knowing how to write the story, or what the story is, or a combination of both?
Or is it just simply a matter of writing?
What do you think?