Writing Stories and Self-Doubt

Writing Stories and Self-Doubt - student project

When I read the description of the project, I had to sit back and think. What do I give up on and why?

On the surface, the answer was easy - I give up on writing the stories that I come up with, usually about halfway through writing them. I can't even begin to count the number of unfinished tales I have stored away at this point. But why?

The first of the two videos helped me face the why. Not understand, which I already did, but face it. I get to a certain point and the self-doubt creeps in. That inner critic chews on my ear, telling me every minute mistake I've made, why people wouldn't want to read what I've written. Why bother finishing, if people are going to hate it? (And yes, even with this project - or perhaps especially with this - I hear that critic.)

Still, something niggled at the edge of my mind. It wasn't just the critic right? I've lived with this my whole life. If I constantly listened to her, I wouldn't do anything. So, I listened to the second video. Perhaps it was because I was half distracted, but one thing stood out for me. One small detail that I had never heard and never considered.

Negative mood leads to analytical thought, positive mood leads to creative thought.


But why was that so important to me? I allowed my mind to ponder this while I prepared lunch. Well, I did say I was half distracted, right? *grins*

Analytical thought - an editor uses analytical thought! Now, for those of you that remember the old cartoons, any time a character had an epiphany, a light bulb went on over their head. And I could have sworn I saw one over mine at that moment. So, let me see if I can outline this -

1) I come up with a story idea - usually something off the wall, a bit humorous, sarcastic, fun.
2) I start writing.
3) The critic appears, looks over my shoulder (metaphorically speaking) and begins to pick the story apart. She doesn't care that this is a first draft, I've put a comma in the wrong place, that word is misspelled, that phrase doesn't sound right Etc.
4) This puts me in a bad mood.
5) The internal editor comes out and I go into editing mode. And since I am battling perfectionism, that editor is never satisfied with anything. Ever.
6) I give up and put the story aside.
7) I go off and do other things until I'm in a good mood again.
8) Go to 1.

Is the process logical? Hardly, in fact it's the most illogical process ever. And I've allowed myself to be caught in this loop for far too long now.

Now, I have some thinking to do. Because it's not enough to just know why it happens, I now have to figure out how to stop it from happening.