There’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m a writer, or at least I claim to be. I have a degree in English. I’ve continued my education by dutifully reading books on the craft of writing, reading “helpful” articles on the web about different aspects of writing, and I practice -a lot. I have a pinterest board full of articles I’ve read to help me with this aspect or that of writing. I listen to the podcasts and watch the online classes.
And then one day, I had a thought. What if none of it really matters?
I’m a person who’s constantly looking to Heaven and asking what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, my family, my currently non-existent career . . . In life and family, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be. I’m caring for my kids and loving my husband and doing the best I can. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. But with my writing career? Sometimes I just don’t know.
That’s where the “what if” questions really come in to play.
What if all my hard work in learning and practicing writing really doesn’t matter?
What if I’m writing in the wrong genre?
What if I’m not suppose to write fiction?
What if the “helpful” articles and blogs I read are all just a distraction?
What if I’m just kidding myself in ever thinking people would want to read what I have to say?
What if what I’m passionate about, isn’t actually what I’m passionate about?
What if I’m really just a silly girl with a crayon and sheet of paper?
What if I’m just wasting my time?
I like “what if” questions. They are excellent for fueling your creative process and getting you to think of things from different angles.
But in our own lives, I think we need to be wary of them. Yes, “what if” questions can spur needed change, but if you let them go too far, it can stop you. It can stop you from ignoring all they Nay Sayers and purposefully pursuing your dreams. It can stop you from focusing on your goals. “What if” questions, gone too far, can stop you from being happy.
So what are you supposed to do?
Well, I’ve found that if “what if” questions are bogging me down and stopping my progress, I pause and rewind a little. I look at what is causing me to question what I had already known was a good course of action. What exactly is causing me to doubt? Is it that things aren’t working the way I thought they should? Did I see another’s success and neglected to acknowledge how far I’ve come myself? Is it taking longer then I expected? Am I just exhausted and need a break?
Then I look for those reminders that set me on a particular path in the first place. For me, this means I’ve looked back at some of the things I’ve written. I think about how excited I was. I not only look at my works of fiction, but my blog posts and my journal. This reminds me that I really am a writer. Now, I may not be an epic fantasy fiction writer (my current study), but I am a writer none-the-less and I need to stay the course.
And then I remember to “Doubt my doubts.”
Chances are, if you are suddenly being bombarded with “what if” questions that are making you doubt something good, you are on the edge of something great.
Just keep going. Make little changes if you have to, but remember why you are doing it in the first place.
I started writing because I wanted to tell stories of seemingly ordinary people who learn through amazing circumstances that they are worth it, have value, are loved and who have the ability to strengthen and uplift those around them. When I keep this reason in mind, it is amazing the things I can do.
So when “what if” questions bog you down and keep you from moving forward, pause, evaluate and remember to doubt your doubts. You can do it! You are wonderful and amazing and can do great things.