I hate to admit that I’m a two time recovering doubter.
For the longest time, I loved writing. I made up fanciful stories of super heroes based on my classmates in elementary school. I could have told you an entire saga about ‘Rocky Rudy’…albeit in three page chapters at a time.
When I graduated from elementary school and moved into the “real world” of junior high and high school, I started to move away from writing. Somewhere, doubt had crept in. My mind became occupied with other things; music (marching band), movies (Star Wars) and girls (…). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was probably trying to find other pursuits due to some doubt about
my writing deep down inside.
When it came time for me to choose a career (midway through my junior year of high school, always a perfect time to make choices about the rest of your life) I thought that I wanted to spend my life programming computers. I had the glamorous vision of crafting hugely popular video games. I should have seen this as my desire to write creeping back into my life since some of the best video games ever made have excellent stories at their core.
I went off to college and began to pursue my digital dreams, but soon found doubt of a different kind. In the first week of computer science class, I met 20 other guys that had been coding since they were in the womb. Most of them had already mastered at least two coding languages and probably could have taught some of the classes we were taking. I was out of my league, and doubt started to creep in, but I pushed onward, so blinded by my dream of making it big in video games.
I decided to change my major to something simpler so that I could “spend more time focusing on my writing.” At least that’s what I told myself.
Then the realization hit me. If I wanted to spend more time on my writing, why not find someplace where I could major in writing?
I took a semester off of college, switched schools, enrolled in an English program as a Creative Writing major and three years later was the proud owner of a BS in English. I had short stories, poems and essays to my name and grand dreams of being a published author. Music, movies and girls were ever-present in my life over the years, but now I had learned to balance them with my writing.
Then I went to work.
After a few months the corporate world swallowed me whole. I forgot about writing as I worked my way up the corporate ladder. Again, I didn't realize it as doubt at the time, but I see now that my desire to climb that ladder instead of slogging away at my writing was because it provided gratification at a much faster rate. I was good at my job and was tapped for several promotions. With each of these, I moved farther from my dream of being a writer.
Last summer that world came crashing down around me. Everything that I had worked on in corporate America was obliterated with the statement at the beginning of one Tuesday morning meeting.
“Your job will be eliminated in three month.”
Fortunately fate intervened a few months before this announcement. I had already picked up my pen once again and was writing several short stories. I worked at them little by little, started a simple website and blog (which you are reading right now) and posted little snippets of the stories as they took shape. This time I was determined not to let doubt force me down. I forced myself to keep writing even when I didn't want to. I have had a few bouts of Writer’s Doubt since starting my blog, but have been pressing on and tapping away at the keyboard anyway.
Destiny steered me to a writer’s workshop group online where I have had the chance to have some great writing peers read over my work and provide valuable feedback and critique. I know I still have a ways to go before I can achieve my dream of being a published fiction author, but I currently lay claim to the title of published poet. Because I didn't give up on my writing last year, a few of my poems are being published in an anthology this summer. That alone is enough motivation to keep me moving forward, trusting that something wonderful is just over the horizon. They only way for me to see it is to keep walking.
Thank you to Bryan Hutchinson for putting on this contest and soliciting such great material from all of the writers who have entered.