“…the only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe that you can be. I know that sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true.”
– Vitruvius (The Lego Movie)
It’s a small word, relatively speaking, just seven little letters stacked neatly side by side. But what power it has–what implication, what possibility!! As a writer, it’s a word I clutch gratefully to my heart, because without it, there can be no success. That’s what I believe, anyway.
Let me back up a bit. I want to talk for a second about something I’m sure you’ve already spent plenty of time considering: crippling self-doubt. If you’re a writer (and not some kind of mutant narcissist variety who worships at the altar of her own work), you know exactly what I’m talking about. Writing is a journey, and although it sometimes includes a bit of “YES! This is AWESOME!” it also features its fair share of “EVERYTHING I WRITE IS CRAP, I AM FOOLING MYSELF, NO ONE WOULD READ THIS, WHY HAVE I DONE THIS TO MYSELF, I SHOULD GIVE UP, MY PANTS ARE TOO TIGHT” (that last one may just be me, as I tend to eat when I’m stressed).
The self-doubt of a writer is not to be taken lightly. It comes out of nowhere: at the start of a revision, on the heels of an exhilarating and productive writing sprint, in the middle of the night, off and on during the ENTIRE query process, and, I assume, whether or not you’ve sold a book (or three). This rattling insecurity is dangerous. Why? Because if you don’t believe (more on that in a moment), an intense run of self-doubt can utterly derail you.