I found this on Chris Jones’ blog. He’s a writer for Esquire. http://sonofboldventure.blogspot.com/
Read on. It’s awesome.

MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011

FEAR

I’ve no doubt you’re inundated with emails and requests and ideas for blog posts, but as a writer, if you can ever get around to addressing self-doubt, and writer’s block, if you’ve ever suffered from it, I’d love to read your thoughts.

I thought I could write well. I’ve been told I can write well. But I can’t write. Literally. I think every sentence I put together is garbage. I’ll be honest: I’m bitter about others getting opportunities I feel I should have gotten. The self-doubt is, as stated, nothing short of crippling.—Name withheld out of Love.

Oh, Love. This is sad. Because I see so much of myself in your words, and I know how it feels.

I’ve never had writer’s block. But I’ve had such doubt. I’ve spent more of my life feeling sick to my stomach than ninety percent of people who know when their next meal is coming, I would guess. I can’t remember the last time I wrote something and thought I’d nailed it. Not since I was a kid, I don’t think.

Just last week, I heard through my agent that my boss, David Granger, wanted to speak to me on the phone. That doesn’t happen very often. I believe the last time we spoke on the phone, in fact, was nine years ago, when he called my hotel room to hire me. This time, I was sure he was going to let me go. I began plotting the next stage of my career. I thought I’d become a full-time carpenter, maybe. Maybe I’d work at Home Depot. I didn’t sleep very much for the plotting until finally he called. He just wanted to say hey, because it had been a while since we’d last talked. He wanted to make sure I was happy. I told him I hadn’t been sleeping. He said he was sorry.

I agonize over blog posts. I’ve sweat over single words in 5,000-word stories. Tonight, I spent ten minutes with an editor trying to wrestle an eight-word clause into place. I’m still not sure it’s right.

Before my best stories—even when I’m nearly sure they will be good, or at least should be good, because the material is there—my overwhelming feeling is, You’d better not fuck this up, stupid. My feeling is that if I somehow blow it, if I somehow fail these astronauts or dead soldiers, then I need to quit the business, never to write again. Because only a failure could fail people like that. Only someone like me could betray them.

And yet I keep writing. I’ve written something every day this year.

Because I still have hope, Love, hope against hope, that one day I’ll write something perfect. The way a golfer dreams he might shoot 59, I dream of that story that I’ll be able to read years later and still not want to change a single word. I dream that I’ll write “Death of a Racehorse.” I dream that I’ll write “Black.”

And that’s all I can tell you. All I can tell you is that you probably are a good writer, and you probably write plenty of good sentences. Readers aren’t wrong. Which means that one day, even you might feel that you’ve made your world right.

And all I can tell you is, if that day comes now, in your youth—if today is the day that you think that you’re great, that today you will write something perfect, whenever you put your fingers to the keys—then you will never, ever be great.

You won’t be crippled by doubt, then. You will be crippled by ego. And that, for me, is the far greater curse. You’d think you were above reproach, above editing, above your audience, above your profession. When all this time, you were below them.

That’s what I tell myself, Love, in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep and want to give up.

I envy confidence. I envy ego. I envy certainty.

But if suddenly I had those things, I’m sure I’d miss that sick feeling in my stomach. It’s been here with me for so long, deep inside my guts, it would feel like something was missing. It would feel like fear had left me, and satisfaction had rushed in to fill its place, and who wants to be satisfied, Love? Who wants to feel accomplished? Who wants to feel as though you’ve achieved everything you set out to achieve, except in those last, lingering moments, when you remember your younger, more beautiful self—when you remember today, Love—and how much you had left in you to give?

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