The older I get then the more I realize that being creative seems to bring anxiety, self-doubt and emotional baggage. Probably not for every artist, but I know several that wrestle with all kinds of emotional and mental challenges that affect their health. Though I am positive there are likely many creative types that don't find depression or anxiety knocking at their door, I sure as hell know that it is a challenge for me. I feel like having extreme emotions some how sparks the creative juices; it is one of those cases where you get a room full of gold bricks, but it will eventually tumble and crush you.
I've mentioned several times how my emotions have sabotaged my writing. I have alluded to the dark voices. Well, here are a few of the thoughts that have hounded me through the years as I struggle for success in my chosen writing career.
I don't write fast enough. I don't write good enough when I write fast. How do I write high quality content that oozes my personality without taking hours upon hours to write? I love to write. I often come up with three or four ideas for an article in a day. I have countless ideas for pieces for this site but what often paralyzes me is the fear that I'll be writing for hours on an article that will pay me nothing. I often freak out about how long it will take me to write an article to point that I question if it is worth the few hundred dollars that it will pay me? But if I try to write it fast, does it feel rushed and lose my personality because I'm speeding through to make the time spent worth the amount I'm making? This is one of the thoughts that hampers me most.
Will I ever write something that I'll think is worthy of my inspirations like Stephen King and Roger Ebert?
Can I get my points across and deliver the facts without sacrificing personality, humour and entertainment? I often wrestle with knowing if a piece has a enough personality especially when writing about serious subjects like mental health or social issues. I want as much value and information to be crammed in as possible, but sometimes I fear that the personality and flair gets lost in attempt to rattle things off.
If I can't even get friends and family to regularly read my stuff, then how am I supposed to attract strangers with no emotional attachment to me?
Should I write a piece that is honest but may offend and alienate some of my readers and possibly lose them? I have a lingering fear that if I write a truly honest piece especially when it to comes to things about politics and social issues that I may offend and then lose readers, and do I really have enough to risk such a thing? If I am not honest, am I stuck just writing mundane and safe pieces that have no chance to take off and draw in new readers?
Do I really think my writing will become popular or that anyone is willing to pay for it? Even with a year of digging deep into positive thinking, I still know there is a deep thought that is shouting 'Nobody would pay money for this!' The only way that I know how to defeat this voice is to keep on writing every day and pushing harder and harder towards my dream. I do have an audience. I have had publishers pay for my stuff. I need to trust my past success rather than the negative voice that continues to haunt me.
Is this really an original and unique idea? One of the values of a writer is offering insight, perspective and ideas that are fresh and not part of the current conversation. A writer is about looking at a common thing and angling it to make it look new and different. I often fear that what I feel are my most brilliant ideas are just things said by smarter and better writers. But the only way to defeat that voice is the same as everything on this list, just keep writing and pushing myself to be better.