Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fighting the enemy

Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite writers. I've turned to her works--particularly her poetry--countless times in my life. I can always find something to learn from her, some truth that resonates with me in whatever situation I'm facing.

One of my favorite of Plath's quotes serves as an inspiration to me whenever I feel that, despite my desire, I'm just not good enough to be a writer--and never will be:

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." ~Sylvia Plath

Self-doubt. I'm sure all writers go through periods when they feel as though all their hard work is for nothing, that what they have to say is uninteresting, that their creativity is nonexistent. I feel this way more often than I'd like. I've been enthused about story ideas so many times in my life, only to become stifled when the doubts creep in:

"You can't write about that. What will people think?"

"Who cares if you're a mother? You don't know enough about motherhood. How are you going to make the story realistic? You're going to look like an idiot."

"Worst. Idea. Ever."

This is my Inner Critic speaking, of course, the one who can always be depended on to tell me the worst about myself, about my writing, about my ability to do anything other than dream of being a writer. The way I see it, I have two choices when that Inner Critic comes out to play. I can take everything he says to heart and quit or I can kick butt and take names. In other words, I can fight through the self-doubt, finding inspiration from writers like Plath: everything is writable if the writer has the guts.

And I do.

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