Giving Doubt the Finger

I want to write.  I want that to be my career.  It’s the only career I really want.  But I am so afraid that it’s not going to work out.  That I’m not good enough, that I’m not smart enough, that nobody cares.  With so many doubts constantly barraging my confidence, it’s a wonder I ever get anything done.  That said, lately I’ve had an impressive run of getting things done, unprecedented since I finished the first draft of the novel.

I think it comes from finally having set out a goal for myself (going back to school), and the preparations for that process seem to have kicked my work ethic back into gear.  For the first time in a long time, I’m writing for an audience, an audience that will definitely read my work, even if that audience is just an admissions committee (or four…).  And I’m seeing tangible results, in my writing, editing, and reading.  It feels good.  And I’m proud of myself.

Still, I have had this niggling bit of doubt stuck in the back of my head, telling me that I could be putting all of this effort in for nothing.  The hours of work and research, the money for application fees and standardized tests and transcripts, not to mention the serious investment of hope — they could all just be a waste of energy if I don’t get in to any of these programs.  I have always struggled with a fear of failure, and it has at times crippled me, glued me in place so that I was unable to act in my own best interest.  There’s a little voice inside me, a real asshole, that’s always telling me, Fuck it.  Nothing’s ever going to change.  My job, and it’s sometimes a very difficult one, is to give that voice the finger and show it to the door.

So this TED talk was beamed onto my computer at just the right time.  It’s encouraging but frank, and it was just what I needed to hear: getting where you want to be takes passion, dedication, discipline.  What it doesn’t take is cop-outs, excuses, or fear.

Sure, I may not make it into any of the programs I’m applying to.  But if I don’t give it all I’ve got, I have no one to blame but myself.