Last week, one of my writing clients confessed that she thought she would be farther by now--as in, she's been coming back to writing off and on for ten years. After a full decade, shouldn't she have accomplished more by now? She is an extremely optimistic and positive woman, but I could hear the frustration in her voice. It was showing up in her writing process, too--her pieces were good and getting better all the time, but her drive to write was waning.
The problem with this kind of doubt is that it sounds really damn convincing.
"If you were good enough," it says, "you would have [written a book/published in your favorite magazine/fill in your dream here]."
To fight back, you start scanning your life for evidence. And if you haven't done those things then you start to think, Maybe I can't do this.
You completely miss out on the things you're actually accomplishing. In my client's case? She had written two new pieces and was in the heart of revisions. Not to mention, she had recently ordered a new writing desk AND told someone that she was a writer.
If you've ever struggled to call yourself a writer--out loud--then you know what a big deal that can be!
And taken together with the new desk, the new essays, and our work together, I could see that she was exactly where she needed to be: transforming from "off and on" to "ready and committed". By the end of our conversation, she could see it too--and I could hear the relief in her voice. She knew, just like I did, that the steps she's taking now are far more likely to help her achieve her goals than any voice of doubt.
If you're feeling impatient, take stock. What are you doing and learning right now? Or, what do you need to do or learn? Resist the temptation to jump six steps ahead and judge yourself prematurely.