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Self Doubt and despair

Karadi Tales in 2017

Penguin in 2018

Hatchette in 2019

3 years. 3 publishing contracts. I guess I must be doing something right!

But the journey to confidence began with Self Doubt. When I first put on the Writer’s Hat a few years ago, I wasn’t sure I had what it took to make it.

During these years, I have read memoirs and experiences of great writers and it gave me great consolation to know that virtually all writers, including the great names, were plagued by self-doubt. I was not alone.

I also found great encouragement to read about how different writers persevered and prevailed.

This gives me impetus to share my journey. So that those who aspire to write, but find themselves held back by the clutches of self-doubt, may break free and surge ahead.

Self-doubt

“So…what you do?”

A standard question everybody from a new acquaintance you make to the Visa application Officer poses.

I am a writer. I am a writer. That meek voice inside would somehow never emerge out of my head.

“I am a lawyer.” I always found myself saying, despite having laid aside my lawyer’s gown for over 5 years.

What stopped me? Why was it so hard for me to say that I was a writer?

I guess I feared being asked questions like “So…what have you written?” “Any books?” “Where can I buy your book?”

Oops… I hadn’t written any books! Well…I hoped to…someday… But I didn’t have any books as yet.

But I still spent a large part of my work day writing. Putting words into my computer screen. I wrote for a bunch of projects. I wrote short stories. I wrote newspaper articles. I wrote blog posts. I wrote poetry. I wrote and I wrote.

But did that make me a writer? Would people accept that I was a writer?

When does one become a Writer?

It is a strange situation.

The moment I received my LLB degree, I proudly announced to the whole world and its aunt that I was a lawyer.

As soon as one earns an MBBS degree, I’m sure they go about proclaiming that they are doctors. Likewise for engineers, architects etc.

The moment you have a child, you are a mother/father. Nobody waits to find out if you’re good at the job before crowning you with that title.

But for creative professions it doesn’t quite work that way.

Dancers. Singers. Filmmakers. Painters. Writers. When is it that you embrace that identity and adorn yourself with that title?

Would you require the world to acknowledge your work before you can describe yourself so? Why it that you feel the work must be known/recognized/ acknowledged before you can begin using that description for yourself? How can the world acknowledge it if you haven’t accepted it fully?

It’s a strange situation to be in, I know. But there is only one route out of the conundrum. It begins with self-acceptance.

Whatever the case, it is important to know that creative people in every field have overcome hurdles of self-doubt, And gone on to not only find their identity but also assert and celebrate it!

Self-Acceptance sets the ball rolling

One of the most interesting writing projects that I have worked on came to me through a reference from a friend. I had done some pro bono legal work for this friend during my lawyer days, who also had a good opinion about my writing skills. It had taken me over a year to begin telling people that I was now a writer. I would do so hesitantly, slipping it in softly in a conversation. Almost within a month of opening up, I received a reference through this friend. It was a fantastic project, that not only paid well but also give me a jump start. None of it have ever would have happened if I hadn’t opened up and started telling the world that I was a writer.

Before you take your writing out and convince the world that you are a writer, it is necessary for you to convince yourself!

Take that step today! Tell yourself you are a writer! Tell the world you are a writer!

I am a writer! I have always been one!

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