This is the continuation of my first post on writing through doubt and depression. If you wish to read the first post, please click here.
By February, I had a renewed energy and motivation which I attributed to my new writing endeavor. After all those years, finally taking my novel seriously seemed to provide purpose to my life. It was something I had not felt in a long time. Ideas started coming back to me, as well as, energy to take on new projects, it was all very exciting.
Shortly after launching my blog, I switched focus to begin developing my social media pages. All I wanted to do was cover the basics, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (to share writing pics?). That seemed to be more than enough for a new writer to balance between writing his book and blog posts (right?). Then I delved deeper down the rabbit hole and started to involve myself. I joined some writing groups, browsed profiles, posted comments and even reached out to fellow writers. But, while I was busy trying to elevate my social presence, doubt was busy creeping into my life.
Anyone who has started a new endeavor has faced doubt at some point. It’s that thing that lingers in the back of your mind and, at times, tells you you’re not good enough. Many are able to simply look doubt in the face and say “thanks, but not now”, while others struggle with it. However, coupling doubt with depression creates a whole new animal.
Seeing other writer’s posts/success triggered doubt in my mind. It made me start to question everything and convinced me I wasn’t able to take on the journey. I started to believe I wasn’t strong enough to write and be successful. Negative thoughts spiraled around and, shortly after, my depression kicked in.
I’ve had depression my entire life, so I’m aware that it never leaves. Up to this point, however, I was doing a good job of minimizing its effects on my life.
Depression once again had a debilitating effect on me. I spent a little over a week without putting pen to paper. I watched TV, played an addicting game on my phone, and avoided all the work I had already completed. And, it was all because I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough.
Then I read something which resonated with my current situation. I don’t recall the full quote, so I’ll summarize:
When starting something new, don’t worry about being as good as others are now. You need to be as good as they were when they started.
I’m often plagued by trying to get too far too fast, and this time was no different. Seeing the accomplishments of other writers made me feel I was too late to the party. But, it’s a big party that has room for all types of guests – old, new, published, soon-to-be published. We’re all invited.
With that, I put the phone down and started writing…I have a novel to finish.