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Beating back doubt and accepting growth

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

I had a problem this winter after considering the edits to my manuscript for City of Visions - I doubted myself, so I didn't write new work. I had revised City of Visions intermittently and unevenly throughout 2019, but I limped through to the finish line, always wondering, Is this enough for it to be done? Can I stop now?

By the time January 2020 came and I saw the new edits I needed to complete, I was exhausted. I nearly gave up.

Then I proposed a solution to myself. To beat back the doubt and change my mindset, I would write each and every day.

I needed a break from the City of Visions manuscript. I pulled the manuscript for The Light in Darkness (previously titled many things) and started AN ENTIRE REWRITE of the 40k word manuscript. It needed to be done, I told myself. The only thing that would save the idea is to rewrite it.

It worked. Writing was not just a way to be productive but an antidote to my doubt.

Each day I averaged 900 words. I would go as low as 500 and as high as 2000 words a day. But every day I wrote during my lunch break until I completed the first draft of The Light in Darkness. When I finished the revised draft, I moved on to revisions at the same pace each day.

The result? The Light in Darkness rewrite was completed in two months, tallying 69,000 words. After a first pass revision (73% complete as of this writing) it is now 78,900 words. I feel like it is far better than prior manuscripts, and have sent out to my first beta reader to give me an idea of the strength of the first two chapters.

And I learned something. My skill as a writer was a dynamic (if incalculable) value - it changed over time. I wrote more, proving I could write, and then improved as I did it, proving again that I was an author. That very feedback loop put me in my writing stride each day. The Light in Darkness is better because I was better by writing each day.

Now my mindset is How can I add to this work? What can I do to improve this paragraph? This is done when its done, but not before.

That mindset took me from one to two full manuscripts in six months. I knew that to do it, I had beat back doubt and accept the growth that comes with daily writing.

I had to write.

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