Self-Doubt and Green Haired Gilbert

Filed Under: Book Related, Life

I had an odd experience today.



I was talking with the podiatrist and as she looked over my medical information sheet, she raised her eyebrows and asked, “You’re an author?! I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book but I just don’t have time. If I had it to do all over again, I’d become an author.” This coming from a woman who saves people’s feet from having to be amputated and other cool things.

I’ve heard this in the past from another doctor, as well. The whole time he was doing the Ductogram, we discussed authors we liked and what kinds of books he’d like to write.

And before I met the podiatrist, the checker inner lady started asking me how her daughter could publish some poetry the daughter’s ex-boyfriend had given her. [I learned more about that relationship than I ever needed to know.]

This is all very timely since I sat down yesterday to write about how many of my friends and acquaintances want to write books or are writing books or have written books–I’m looking at you, Heather. It’s disheartening to be in contact with so many folks who probably could write a book and whose books, if I’m completely honest, would be in competition with my [yet written] book. I think it was Stephen King who named this self-doubt and put a face on it and gave it a home–in his brain’s attic?–and by fully realizing that self-doubt, he was able to see it for what it was and move on.

That’s what’s going on here.

It’s not that I want my friends to fail. In fact, it has nothing to do with them. It’s about my inability to move that self-doubt [Mine’s green haired and slightly resembles Gilbert Gottfried but with Fran Drescher’s voice because, even though her voice is bad, it ain’t nothing compared to Gottfried and I figured if that green haired bastard was going to bug me all the time, the least my brain could do was give me some sort of respite.] to some place more manageable–a padded cell, for instance–where the noise of the thing is deadened a bit.

Just like Carmen Agra Deedy–her video’s below–I believe every person has a story to tell and that story is told when you just let go and let it come out. Granted, some people’s stories are better told than others.

I guess what I’m trying to say is so many people seem to want to be writers and they think I’m lucky that I have a “gift” for it and sometimes I don’t suck but it’s damn hard to get to that sometimes place. It’s hard to herd green haired Gilbert into his room and just let go.

Ya know?


  1. Have you ever noticed that when you pay attention you’ll find a theme or two in your life?
    Concurrently everywhere I turn someone is reminding me of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that writing takes dedication and practice.
    Writing is a craft, some people are gifted and are wired in a way that makes it seem easier. To catch that glimmer of inspiration you have to be disciplined enough to apply the seat of your pants to a chair and reach for it with your pen whenever it appears.
    Most people want to blame a lack: of time, of patience, of ability. There is a lack, it’s the willingness to sit down and do the work.
    No, I don’t break a sweat when I work. I break a sweat doing other things to give me the ability to sit still and listen to what my mind wants me to hear.
    I really like Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on the subject and then the other day I heard the author of Do the Work saying something similar, but housed in a different metaphor.
    Keep on keepin on.

    • “No, I don’t break a sweat when I work. I break a sweat doing other things to give me the ability to sit still and listen to what my mind wants me to hear.”

      I posted that TED Talk a while back in mah What If? post. Whenever I need a swift kick in the ass, I watch that video, read On Writing and King’s On Writing.

      Also? Timely tweet I saw earlier:

      How much awesome is she made of?

      This is fun! It’s like a whole new blog post! 😉

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