You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘write what you know’. If we all took that advice literally there’d be no end to the mundane stories and books out there. Instead we take that advice to mean that we should use out experiences and feelings to inform our work.
We all have different pulls on our time. For me, I have two children (aged 4 and 6), a husband (although he’s pretty self-sufficient it’s nice to actually spend time with him), a writing career that I’m trying to get started, family, friends, neighbours, chores, pets, hobbies, a ‘to-read’ pile. You might have all these and more. The fact is, we all need to balance our lives otherwise we end up overwhelmed and under-satisfied.
Have you heard that saying, “When in doubt, chuck it out.”? I think it’s applied to food. As in that chicken that’s a day past it’s use by date but it looks OK and you haven’t got anything else to cook for dinner but there’s definitely some doubt as to whether you’ll give the entire family food poisoning or not.
The bit that catches me though, is the ‘when in doubt’ part. Because when aren’t I in doubt. And when I watch my sons, who are now 6 (almost 7 Mum) and 4 (almost 5 and a big boy Mum), they’re often dealing with doubts too. So doubt seems to be a normal part of life.
I have a lot of doubt about my abilities as a writer and my abilities to make writing into a paying career. But I think there’s some things that I (and you) can do to take control of doubt.
1. Get feedback. Honest feedback. Honest but constructive feedback. Because nothing assuages the doubt like someone telling you, one way or the other, whether something you’ve done is crap or not (in the nicest possible way.)
2. Get educated. Read a website or a book or go to a course and find out if that thing you’ve done and your not sure about was actually done in the best way…and how you can do it in the best way.
3. Get perspective. Are you being to hard on yourself? Or unrealistic with your goals? Do your doubts stem from the fact that you’ve only just started something but you’d like it be further along than it is? If so, it might be time to take a walk and think it through. You might find that you can think yourself out of your doubts.
So, when faced with doubts, I’m going to give these strategies a concerted effort. Because while doubt can be useful it can also be crippling if you’re not controlling it.
What doubts do you have? And how do you keep them in check?
Things are getting busy in my house. Well, can I still call it my house now that we’ve sold it? And the thing about busy times is something has to give. Continue reading
Want a weird observation?
Take a small (about 1kg), whole, chicken.
Wash, pat dry, and remove skin. Snip off ends of wings at the joint.
Coat with seasoning mix (I used Tandaco Southern Chicken – if you want to know).
Pick up chicken underneath the wings. Notice how the little arms flop over your hands and the legs sort of hang loose.
Isn’t it disturbingly like holding a new born baby?!
It is! Yikes! It’s creepy, creepy, creepy!
What are you meant to do with an observation like that? Why have an observation like that?
Let’s play a game…try and write the nude chicken/new born baby analogy into a scene/piece of flash fiction. I would LOVE to see what you can all do!
PS I’m not really into dinner tonight, just so you know.