I hate writer’s block. It’s like an itch you can’t scratch, a painful pressure in the creative sinuses, a constipation of the soul. Luckily, there are various back scratchers, nasal sprays, and laxatives available for writer’s block. It can be overcome, or it passes with time. It’s frustrating, but it’s also a natural part of being creative. Being a working writer has taught me various techniques to overcome writer’s block, wordsmith’s procrastination, and sheer laziness. There’s one demon I still wrestle with, though, and it’s even worse that writer’s block.
I find this to be a far more insidious problem. And it’s not frustrating like writer’s block is. Instead, it’s terrifying. It’s a deep existential angst, kind of like being stuck at a junior high dance for weeks at a time. My writer’s doubt manifests itself usually a few weeks into a larger project. My mind starts worrying at whatever I’m working on: Is it any good? Will my readers like it? Has this idea been done before? Will people think I’m an idiot? Am I an idiot? Is this offensive? Is this funny-offensive or offensive-offensive?
And so on.
And as yet, I haven’t found any real cure for writer’s doubt. It just makes the writing process longer and more stressful. At times, it does prevent me from writing, but most of the time it just turns me into a quivering ball of fear and anxiety with a pen in my hand or a keyboard in front of me. The fiction project I’m in the middle of right now seems like the kind of idea that is either cliché or so obvious no one has bothered. But I’m determined to finish the damned thing. If only to finish it. There’s nothing else that can be done.
But still… What if I’m wasting my time? What if no one wants to read it? What if I’m a failure? Can I die of failure? Would anyone mourn my passing? Is there an afterlife?
And so on.
Writer’s block sucks. Writer’s doubt is an infinite vortex of darkness and fear. But it’s probably time for me to stop avoiding fiction on my blog and just get it done. As far as I can tell, that’s the only way to know if it’s worth anything in the end.