Monday, February 11, 2013

The Winds of Optimism and the Sands of Self-Doubt: A Lesson Never Truly Learned

Once upon a time there was a person who enjoyed writing. One day, this person decided that she wanted to be a Writer, instead of just a writer. She set out with pen and paper and imagination. Where she would end up, she didn't know, but with the Winds of Optimism beneath her wings, she took flight.

Not long after setting forth upon this adventure, she wrote something of her very own. And then, she read it and she thought, "This is terrible." and the Winds ceased to blow. Without the Winds of Optimism to help keep her adrift, she landed in the Sands of Self-doubt, which are more like quick sand than fun sandbox-type sand and with every negative thought, she sunk a bit deeper.

Being stuck in the Sands of Self-doubt and no longer feeling she had the capacity to write anything worthwhile, she decided to read books by other Writers, ones that surely soared with the Winds of Optimism. But as she gazed over the polished words, she continued to sink farther and farther into the Sands of Self-doubt for never could she, a lackluster and incompetent writer, ever be capable of creating such fine works of art.

The sands rose higher upon her until her waist was buried. Then she got an idea. She would write in a new voice, one that was better than her own. Yet, for some reason, the Winds of Optimism did not swoop her into the air, but rather only helped to blow strands of hair from her face now and then.

Her first attempt didn't feel right. Her second was forced. Her third was better than the first, but didn't quite meet her expectations. The Sands began to take her once more and when she was up to her nose in the quickening pit, she read her original manuscript again.

And something magical began to happen. She realized it wasn't so bad after all. It wasn't perfect by any means, but there was something right about it. It was hers. And with that realization, the Winds of Optimism burst across the desert's surface like a tidal wave and wrenched our Writer out of the sand. Her wings spread open wide and the Winds thrust her into the air triumphantly and all was well...

But be warned: the Sands of Self-doubt are always down there, ready to bury us with our own undoing.

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