I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: Overcoming Writer’s Doubt’ held by Positive Writer. - See more at: http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-doubt/#sthash.gvO6mWN0.dpuf
I started writing at the age of thirteen. I wrote out 103 pages long hand (spelling most words horrendously incorrectly) and I just knew it was the greatest thing since Shakespeare. Over the next two years, as I read over my work, I realized... I had a long way to go. Friends and family would say that it reminded them of this book or of that book, and they were right. My story was borderline plagiarism. From that moment on every time I sat down to write I stopped and thought, Oh no... this has been done before. I'm no good. This was my first experience with writers doubt.
Yes, many writers go through this. We write a new story and feel passionate about it. It's exciting, fresh, and daring. Even so, somewhere down the road, we hit a road block. I would say this it the real “writers block”. It's not that we can't think of what to write next, but that we fear what we want to write. The book I'm currently writing made me feel overjoyed and I couldn't stop talking about it with my sister. I'd never written anything like it. Then I reached page 100. By this point is where the writer's doubt attacks. I started thinking that it sounded too much like other books. People would think I stole the idea or even that I had zero imagination, since it was like all the others. It made me want to cry.
It was my sister who talked me off the ledge. She rolled her eyes with her sweet smile and said, “You always say that.” I stared at her for a few seconds and realized she was right. I did always say that. What I came to realize was that yes, my story did sound similar to others, but all stories are inspired by similar things. There's always the protagonist, antagonist, comic relief, and love interest. There's a crime that needs solving or a world that needs saving. It wasn't about me taking ideas, but how I used those ideas and made them my own.
I have a friend who I haven't seen or spoken with in many years. He is currently reading my story story which I posted on my blog. I had every reason to believe no one was reading it, so when he sent me an e-mail out of the blue telling me how much he was enjoying it, it made my heart swell. All that doubt I'd felt had been for nothing. He could be the only person in the world reading my short story, but at least he has been entertained. That is success. That is a personal win.
We as writers need to have faith in ourselves. Our stories are our own and deserve to be read, even if only by a few. Start your story, take ideas from everywhere, and make it your own. It may not be the next bestseller, but it will touch someone somewhere. It will spark a reader's imagination, inspire another writer, or help you grow in your writing until you do write that bestseller.
So, writer's doubt? Forget about it. It's all in your head, just like it is in mine. We are storytellers. We make dark days gain new life. Polish your story and make it fresh.