Okay, so I always attend some professional development before school starts. Last week, I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Craig Manning. He was a professional tennis player in Australia, and he's now a performance psychologist and works with Olympic athletes.
He said that when artists and athletes allow doubt into their minds, that's when they can't perform. It rang true to me at the moment, and I still believe it's true. If I sit down to write and find that everything I've done feels like garbage, that's because I'm doubting myself. My ability to craft a story with an arc, my desire to create three-dimensional characters, even things on the line level.
So how does one get over this doubt?
Craig said something that made sense to me. He said that when he was coaching girl's tennis at BYU, and the match wasn't going well, he'd go out on the court and instead of focusing on all the things the player had done wrong (which they were already obsessing over!), he told them to tell him three things they were doing well.
And if they muttered about it, he'd say, "Name three things, or I'm forfeiting the match." (And he has a cool Australian accent, so imagine this threat in that.)
So that's something I've started doing in my writing. If I feel like nothing's going right, and every word on the page should be deleted, I stop. I focus on three things I do well, and use those things to drive the doubt away.
Because I don't want to forfeit the match.
Do you experience doubt? How do you overcome it?