This past year, I’ve managed to find made my way past many self-defeating hurdles: restrictions imposed upon myself through my own refusal to believe. Before, I was unproven, and I don’t mean to the world. I was unproven to myself. I hadn’t found a reason to believe in myself and the things I can do.
Thankfully, the people I’ve surrounded myself with have helped lift me up and over many of those hurdles in recent months, one of which was the self-doubt I carried along that weighed down on my writing skills. I’ve still got a long way to go, but now I realize there’s nothing other than myself holding me back from getting to where I want to be.
I realized I had a gift for writing during my teenage years. Once I did, I was eager and enthused. I had finally found my thing, that special talent everyone has that allows them to do something effortlessly when everyone else seems to struggle with it. Everyone has a gift. I had found mine.
Young and reckless, with too much energy for my own good, I thought I could do it all. I tried writing a novel at the age of eighteen. I failed, miserably. I could pump out short stories like it was nobody’s business, and I foolishly believed crafting a long story would be no different.
Everyone has a gift, but everyone also has a breaking point. Attempting to write a novel at such a young age bumped me down to mine, draining me of my will to continue as I tried to craft something my underdeveloped mind could not possibly understand.
I exhausted myself over the same story for years (no exaggeration), refusing to give up on something I started – another hurdle I’ve passed is knowing when to move on, and how that’s different from giving up. I just couldn’t get it to work. I couldn’t understand how to make a plotline span such a length.
For me, writing a novel was an insurmountable feat. Eventually, I gave up. I didn’t move on after realizing it was simply not something I was prepared to do at the time. I gave up. I quit. I fell into the misguided belief that my inability to do something right then and there meant I was attempting something I could never possibly achieve.
I didn’t move on. I gave up. I quit.
I held that belief for several years and am just now starting to see past it. Thanks to my amazing mentors, I now realize writing a novel is something I’m simply not ready for. It’s not something I could never accomplish. I’ve learned I have a lot to learn, but it’s no more complicated than that. I just have things I still need to learn, and I am learning them.
Why do I say all these things? Why do I tell this story? What’s the point?
The point is if I could feel the way I did, there’s a chance many other people are feeling the same way. I tell this story so anyone out there who’s not writing because they don’t believe in themselves might happen upon this post. I tell it because it just might be the very thing they need to hear. Self-doubt can stifle creativity and potentially prevent someone from telling an amazing story, and I don’t want that to happen.
That’s why I tell this story.