About Doubt

See, here’s the problem. I started out with a goal. I mean, I also wanted to make the stories stop nagging me. That, too. I have to empty them out like a bucket that catches the leak, anyway. If I don’t, they overflow. Flooded brains are less fun than you might think.

But the problem, the real problem, is that I wanted to be a writer. I wanted… the words to catch somewhere, to catch something else on fire. A pure vanity. I wanted to be a writer, and maybe wanting something like that is where I went wrong.

But then, maybe that’s the only way to do it. Maybe you have to have something like that in mind in order to even set your feet to the path. So that’s what I’ve done: set my feet to the path, wanting to be a writer.

And now, of course, I hesitate. After I’ve gotten a few little publications, after I’ve finished a few stories and I’m almost 20,000 words deep into two unfinished novels, now, now, I sit down and ask myself what the hell I’m doing. What the hell am I doing?

It’s overwhelming, the little voices telling me I’ll never be as good as, I’ll never even make a side-living off of, I’ll never be read, never be discussed, never be disliked and torn down. It isn’t about the idea of fame or fortune, but spreading words around like a flu virus. It’s about craft and contagion. I want to make those words contagious. I want to participate in the conversation. I want to read a thing, and write a thing, and say “Hey, I disagree. I love your words, but I disagree,” with my work, and then have others to respond even to that.

Craft and contagion. And when I frame it in those terms, it all becomes maybe doable again. I just have to empty the bucket, and play with the muck that results. I just have to empty the bucket, and see where it gets me.

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