In any case, writing! Wut wut! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 new people I have met who aspired to write but have shied away from it for one reason or another. It drives me half mad to hear how many amazing writers are hiding away from the calling.
I am reminded of Bertrand Russell's observation:
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
If you are practiced in any skill, you can tell the difference. You can feel it. I have read a bunch of things at this point, and so much of it is like clogged piles of snot. Don't get me wrong: sneezing is natural, blowing your nose is good and healthy, picking your nose is unseemly but sometimes necessary. Nevertheless, the results from these efforts are not to be published. One may even be proud of a well-extracted booger, but it should not be preserved.
In contrast, gems—gems!—are hidden in dressers because one foolish lout hated rubies. Precious metals are taken out with the trash because a well-placed insult made silver seem worthless. Beautiful fabrics are burned because a heartbreak made silk unbearable. Instruments are destroyed because one fearful advisor was made uncomfortable by the violin. Art is forgotten because one voice insisted oils were a waste of time. And stories are left unwritten because so many timid, prying eyes could not see the beauty and necessity of creating.
Our world is glutted with foolish trifles. Perhaps, the wiser fear that their work would be foolish and fanatical, but I think it is possible to spot the wiser: when they talk about how much they must write—not how much money they want to make or awards they want to achieve but just how much they must write, not merely want to write.
I recently met a lady who felt guilty for all the writing she hadn't been doing. Then, she seemed to say, the writing had been absent so long and the guilt had lasted so long that it didn't seem worth writing anymore. But it still nags her in the back of her mind. It is always possible to misrepresent oneself or to misinterpret another, but she seemed to express that she must write. Those are the writers that I feel must write.
And then! And then, what's worse and better at the same time is when you see an aspiring writer dip into the world that begs to escape their hearts and minds—and they write! Slowly at first, quickly at first: it doesn't matter. They write.
What's even worse is discovering literature! I have a friend who recently, reluctantly shared a story, and it was utterly bloody amazing! She still mutters about how it's not very good, she wrote it when she was young, and other such hoopla. It was a delightful story full of hilarious scenes with a charming premise and engaging characters! If she was writing like that in high school, how dare she not continue to write?!
It drives me half mad to see such amazing work hidden on a shelf.
Half mad I tell you.
Stop doubting. Or continue doubting, but continue writing. Continue daring. Embrace the doubt and push through it.
Yet another friend recently read yet another amazing story: very smooth grammatical structure, balanced descriptions (i.e., neither dry nor blubbery), and an inviting setting. Afterwards, she explained it was one of the scariest things she had done recently: her heart was pounding, and she sweat profusely.
First of all, who the weeds is being such a jerk to cause a dignified individual to fear her own excellent work?
Most of all, however, she dared. She doubted, and she dared.
Continue to doubt, but continue to write or paint or dance or draw or sing or carve or sculpt or run or read or learn or build or teach or try or do. If it really doesn't work out in the end, it would be no different than eternally stewing in your doubts and regrets.
If it does work out, you will have graced the world with beautiful creations—including yourself, unfettered from the extra miseries the world tells you to carry.