I have a problem with writing, which may not be unique. I don’t suffer so much from what is often called ‘writer’s block’ (which many writers – the productive ones – don’t think even exists). I suffer more from ‘writer depression’. I start off on a story, filled with hope and aspiration and, after a certain point, I begin to doubt it. I find fault with it and undermine it.
I don’t think this is the same as being blocked. I think this is more a crisis of confidence. When the passion dies out you are left with the reality – and the reality is not as much fun.
This applies in many areas of life; but none more so than with writing. If you don’t have the confidence it’s difficult to continue. (No one undermines us as much as ourselves.)
As I see it, there are two solutions to this problem.
One, you give up and walk away.
Two, no matter how hard it is, no matter how ‘distressing’, you don’t give up – you persevere. You started your story for a reason. You started because it was ‘good’. Unless there is something ridiculously wrong with the idea, it is still a ‘good’ story. You’ve just lost your confidence. Because it got hard, because you got ‘stuck’, because you allowed doubt to creep in. (And that’s the crucial thing. You didn’t really get stuck. You just started to doubt what you were doing.)
But it is still a good story. That hasn’t altered. All that has altered is that you ran out of confidence.
One of the things that separates the professionals from the wannabes is perseverance. Those who ended up as ‘professionals’ kept going. Even when it was tough. Even when they were wracked and riddled with doubt. Because there is no Plan B.
If you have a good story – a story that you thought was good enough to start on – you still have it. It may not be working out the way that you’d hoped. It may be taking a lot longer than you’d hoped. But, nevertheless, it is still there. You still have it.
So you can walk away, if you wish (and go off in search of another story). Or you can persevere with the story you have. Even if it means waiting. Even if it means struggle.
Because the alternative is you end up with nothing. But if it was good enough yesterday, it’s good enough today.
Your confidence isn’t the issue. Your doubt isn’t the issue.
What you have to pin your hopes on is perseverance.