The Doubting Voice

The doubting voice inside me says, “What does it matter if I get this book published this month? Or ever? No one is going to read it anyway.”

Then the logical side of my brain supplies lots of statistics and figures and perfectly good reasons why the doubting voice is probably right. Most would-be writers don’t make it. A lot of people don’t even read. It’s a winner’s game; those on top, those best-selling geniuses, stay on top, and the rest of us can’t make it. Why tilt at that windmill?

But the doubting voice isn’t boss. I’m boss. I write because it’s a calling, something so important to me that the day or week doesn’t seem complete without it. I will see this through, and publishing, getting a story or a novel or whatever to the point where it’s as good as I can make it, that’s an accomplishment. I want people to read it. Lots and lots of people. Not everybody will like it; there’s no pleasing everyone. The best I can do though, is very good, and with people who don’t like it, it will be mostly a matter of taste or style, not of fundamental flaws.

Maybe lots and lots of people do read it. Maybe not. The chances are greater than zero, though, if I try. There’s another big accomplishment there, too, in the trying. Gathering the chutzpah to try is a feat. The third and most satisfying accomplishment is recognition and financial success, but the other two are good steps along the way.

Everyone doubts. Everyone has a doubting voice. Highly successful people aren’t free of it, but they probably don’t spend much time listening to the doubting voice. Perhaps they double check. The climber who checks the rope and gear one more time might find a hidden danger; a little doubt can be healthy. Once everything is checked again, though, it’s time to listen to the part of us that believes in ourselves. We can do it.

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