There’s a time and place for everything, even in writing. In each of my writer’s notebooks I designate pages (places) for everything. I have a Favorite words page where new vocabulary I acquire, like “Nepotism”, can collect and mingle with old favorites like “tinged”. My weekly goals page is decked out with color-coded post-its dividing the spread into quadrants and indicating long-term and short-term objectives. There’s a page for funny snippets of conversation I hear, and a page for names of potential characters.
There’s even a page for Doubt. The page is folded in half towards the spine and titled Clouds of Doubt, because that’s how Doubt manifests in my life–as clouds of varying sizes working independently and /or cohesively to intercept my sunny disposition.
Doubt drifts in and, like clouds, it can pass by just as quickly (or slowly) as it floated in. Sometimes it blocks my sun for just a moment–a dark thought I hadn’t considered. Other times the clouds collect creating a permanently cloudy day.
People deal with Doubt in different ways because Doubt manifests differently for different people. For those who view Doubt as a gnarly weed growing in their inner garden, they may feel it best to cut Doubt out at the source and eliminate it swiftly; even if it means wiping out some of the good-thought plants in the process.
I find it best to give Doubt a bit of attention; a place for it to exist where I can acknowledge it and revisit it in my own time, on my own terms. I can’t control when Doubt shows up, but I can control how I confront it.
When a cloud creeps in, I open the special page I’ve given it and write about it. Sometimes it’s a short poem –a snap shot of a feeling or situation. Sometimes it’s a list of worried words. Sometimes it’s a scream into the white void of the page. Presently a bright fuchsia “Arrrggggghhhh!!!” stretches across my Clouds of Doubt page. I don’t remember what it is in reference to but it felt (and still feels) appropriate.
Unlike other emotions, Doubt is one I find that I can safely revisit. I reread my fuchsia scream and volatile verses and remember what it felt like to feel them. I may still feel the Doubts that these expressions stemmed from but I find comfort in knowing I’ve felt them before.
I cram all of these doubt-fueled expressions onto the folded page until I can’t fit another letter and by then… it’s time for a new writer’s notebook.
How do you deal with Doubt? Feel free to express yourself in the comments section