I ran across a description of one of my enemies….DOUBT! And it got me to thinking. Author, Jacqueline Winspear wrote: “Doubt. Was it an emotion? A sense? Or was it just a short stubby word to describe a response that could diminish a person in a finger snap?”
I wrote earlier about my being in good company. Regardless if we writers are obscure or famous, we all doubt ourselves and our work. What if Henry Charles Bukowski, or Ernest Hemingway, or John Steinbeck had let DOUBT win? Put away their pen, dumped their scribbles into a shoe box and made a trip to the attic, got a day job and never wrote another word? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
F.Scott Fitzgerald: “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”
Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Leo Rosten: “The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can’t help it.”
Let’s see …..when were my worst moments? DOUBT clawing at me, whispering in my ear, crawling up my spine. Telling me that I’ll never make it, I’ll never finish a whole novel, that I don’t know the first thing about writing poetry. Writing play scripts was relatively easy for me. After all I had been in theatre reading scripts for over thirty years. And the stories simply fell out of the sky and into my brain when writing a script.
But other genre?
When I could no longer resist the urgency of writing about the women who wait outside prison walls, I researched the length of the average novel; number of pages and words. Yikes! Over 300 pages and 70,000 words. DOUBT was screaming in my ear: ‘you’ll never be able to write that many pages.’ ‘you’re a playwright; not a novelist’, ‘who do you think you’re kidding?’ But I had a true story (several of them, in fact) and all I needed to do was flesh those stories out. Write one page at a time…or even one word.
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A few BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK