vines-self-doubt-writerIt’s hard to write.

That’s one explanation for why I seem to only crank out blog posts when people die lately. Writing’s how I process grief.

Life logistics are a big excuse too. And there’s some truth to that.

My rear sits in a cushy roller chair across a glowing computer screen most of the day. When my rear is not in that roller chair, I’m usually picking up my house. Or trying to get my daughter to give me details about her school day. Or catching up with my husband about work. Or chatting with our roommate who’s often graciously making dinner, attempting to “help” her with jobs like opening the bag of shredded cheese.

This life is blessed, no doubt. It gives me much to write about. So why don’t I write more? Busy schedule is about 10% of it.

The other 90%?

If I’m being honest – it’s scary. Like really scary. Vulnerability is not easy to begin with, but especially when there’s a vast unknown between the taps of a keyboard and readers’ eyes. It’s easy for doubt to creep in.

The Scary Vines of Self Doubt

I love writing. It makes me come alive in ways nothing else can.

But sometimes the space between the words in my head and the words on a page creates fertile soil for a vine of self doubt to grow up, wrap around my lungs, close in tightly and narrow my capacity for air.

I don’t think I have anything to say. I don’t think anyone is reading. I don’t think what I have to write matters. I don’t see writing as a gift.

Around and around the vines wrap. It doesn’t take long before I’m convinced the world is much better off with my thoughts and observations unsaid. The laptop stays shut. The blog goes unwritten.

That’s the main reason I don’t write more.

building-house-self-doubt

Good Company

I was really beating myself up about this until I read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, a gospel for writers, and realized this is common. I’m not the only one who sits down to write and is then hit with anxiety, distractions and doubt – not to mention random sugar cravings.

I got to thinking – it’s probably common for anyone who desires to use their gifts to face insecurity at times.

I bet there are builders who question their floor plan designs before breaking ground. I know there’s moms who panic about their parenting abilities before the baby arrives. I’ve met leaders who doubt their vision before addressing those who follow them. I’m sure there’s painters hiding beautiful canvases out there, doubting anyone will be inspired by their brush stokes.

It’s amazing how the vines of self doubt wrap around us so quickly. It’s like they know something we don’t, and they work very hard to hold us back.

Why?

Probably because our gifts will change the world. Or at least a small corner of it. And that’s exciting, yet scary stuff sometimes.

But if a builder goes ahead and erects the house, someone gets shelter. So I’m pushing myself and forcing myself to sit down and write. I’m telling myself I have something to say and reminding myself writing is a gift.

Why?

Because I want to help change the world. I’m tired of the winding vines of self doubt. And because if you too feel yourself entangled in this invisible overgrowth, I hope you know you’re not alone.