As a writer, I am prone to doubting myself, my writing, and whether or not the Earth is round.
In fact, on the days when I can’t string a few sentences together to save my life, I become convinced that the world is flat. In other words, I doubt the truth. I doubt I am a writer. On those days I give up, throw my pages in the air, and go sulk on the sofa while half watching a grandiose movie like, The Avengers.
Have you ever had days like that? I hope you haven’t had too many. If you have, I have some good news for you…
The Others Have It Better Syndrome
It’s interesting how much better we think others have it when we’re enveloped in self-pity, self-doubt, and self-loathing.
While struggling through my most recent bout of Writer’s Doubt, I thought about how easy it must be for someone like Joss Whedon to write a script for a blockbuster movie. He probably sits down, stretches his fingers, and writes until he’s done.
Joss is perfect. He’s prolific. He never makes a mistake and above all things, he never second guesses or doubts his work. He can publish the first draft of his grocery list.
Joss’ last movie, The Avengers, is the third highest grossing movie of all time with a global take of $1.5 Billion at the box office. (Source)
Now, that, my friends, is a writer’s writer. I hate him! Color me a hater.
Whoa! Hold on, not so fast.
Do you believe in the Master? You know the one I am talking about. The one from: “When the student is ready the ‘master’ will appear.” Yep. That’s the one.
It was Joss’ own words that brought me back to reality and pulled me from the cold clutches of Writer’s Doubt. While reading a recent interview I was relieved by his answer to this question:
Q: Are you still writing (The Avengers 2)?
A: “The writing is never done because I haven’t finished it. It’s not like it was good enough yet… there’s still some scenes that absolutely need to be much better. This happened on the first one because I came in so late and it happened on this one because I am an idiot. I am stupid.” -Joss Whedon (Source)
He’s an idiot? He’s stupid?
Couldn’t be, he’s the screenwriter of Toy Story, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers, Firefly and Serenity, and The Cabin in the Woods, and so many others. (He’s, well, kind of known for his directing skills, too.)
But even Joss has days when he thinks he’s not that great of a writer, that he’s an idiot and that he’s stupid.
Joss is an awesome writer. He’s not perfect, but no less awesome! Color me a fan.
What Joss Whedon can teach you about writing is:
Sometimes you just won’t feel that great about your writing and you may need to work on it and improve it, but you should know that even the great writers of our time, the most prolific storytellers, have days when they feel doubtful, too.
You are not alone. You’re a writer, after all. (Click to Tweet)
Be honest, we all have moments of doubt about our writing. It’s what you do about it that matters. Keep writing.