words in the sun

sunburst patternHere’s the dichotomy many writers suffer from. Self-doubt vs. Arrogance. In order to write, to put down words into sentences that will go into a poem, short story, novel–even a blog post–there has to be an element of arrogance in the writer. The belief that what he/she has to say is worth reading, must be paramount, or the words would never get put onto the page. Combined with this arrogance is the certain belief that nothing we write will ever be good enough. The struggle between this self-doubt and the arrogance necessary to write is the ongoing battle in the author’s life.

Okay, let’s set aside all the ‘the author, the writer’ crap and talk about me. I don’t honestly know if every writer feels as I do. I suspect it, but that is not a fact. Here are facts: I bounce between these two states of self-doubt and arrogance on a daily, sometimes hourly basis when it comes to my own writing. There is something about seeing the words coming out of the keyboard onto the screen that fills me with happiness and certainty and confidence. Two minutes later, those same words can fill me with doubt and uncertainty. What is this self-doubt all about? Why is it there?

It could come from my background which I won’t go into, seeing as it has taken too many years of therapy to figure out. But yes, my background could have something to do with the self-doubt. However, I think it is more than that. I think once we get the words out onto the page, they are no longer ours–they belong to the world. Anyone might end up reading them. The words that were bottled up in our minds are now exposed to the sun, given life, sitting there soaking up the light, ready to read by the public. Then it is up to the readers–will they stomp all over our pretty creative words, heedless of their fragile blooms? Will the reader reject our ideas, tossing aside the work of hours, days, years? Putting the words on the page leaves us, as writers, open to judgment, to praise or ridicule, to love or hate.

So the simple task of putting words out there takes tremendous courage if not, indeed, arrogance. We are saying, as we toss down our word gauntlet, that yes! we believe these words are worth reading! These words might make you laugh, cry, think, believe, cause you to feel. And we are damn well going to put them out there for all to see.

There is a line in The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings about how stepping outside your door can be a dangerous thing. To me, it feels sometimes like putting fingers to the keyboard is the same thing. Every word I type is like taking that step out the door, onto a road that has an end I can’t see. It’s a dangerous thrilling world out there and I’m making my words a part of it, for good or ill.

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One Response to words in the sun

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I’ll write a chapter and think it is the best thing I have ever written. The next month I’ll re-read it and wonder if I’ve lost grip of reality.

    However, I more often than not have faith in my work and the way I see the world, and how I express that in words. Arrogance? Not quite, I’m too introvert for arrogance. But a strong sense of self which gives me confidence in my work? Hell yes.

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