Self Doubt

Since I began recalling the ability to recall, I recall loving books. More specifically, I recall loving words and the endless possibilities of their combinations. For me, words have always held a certain magic. When put together in carefully crafted combinations, words have the ability to transport you to different times, worlds and into the lives of others.

I also recall being thrilled when, at the age of five, I finally owned the ability to write letters and make my own word combinations and, since that time, I have wanted to be a writer. My entire life has been spent dreaming of penning best-selling novels and becoming a sort of younger, female version of Stephen King. He is one of my idols. King can place you in the darkest and most ghastly of worlds, evoking both fear and disgust, but his descriptiveness lends such an air of realism to the horror. He has kept me eagerly turning the pages of his books for 25 years.

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Photo from the collection of the Hoover Library

As a kid, Laura Ingalls Wilder inspired me. When you put aside the whole Little House on the Prairie franchise, stop envisioning Michael Landon as Pa and pick up those books again, you (hopefully) recognize the importance of her writing. She wrote about America and the pioneers of the West. The rich detail of her books is awe inspiring. I can still read them and become swept into the 1870s. Her words have carried me away from the Big Woods in a covered wagon, feeling every jaw-rattling bump as they bid farewell to family they might never see again. She transported me to their dugout at Plum Creek and to their tiny prairie house where I sat by a crackling fire fearing that Pa would freeze to death in the blizzard. On pins and needles, I prayed that Pa would see the lamp that Ma had placed in the window to guide him safely home. I can’t wait for my girls to discover these magical books and hope that they still hold that same magic in a world of DVDs and video games.

Those two authors, worlds apart in their subject matter, planted the seed of a dream. For so many years, I kept my dream to myself. I wrote only for myself and privately and, for a time, I didn’t write at all. It can be hard to hold onto a dream when you are surrounded by negativity and people who are content with being unfulfilled. How is it that some people don’t dream? How is it that some people seem to get some kind of sick enjoyment out of killing the dreams of others? Thankfully, that person is gone from my life now. Oddly enough, the news of his permanent departure from our lives came on the very same day that I received a telephone call from USM/Stonecoast telling me that I have been accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing program. I like when coincidences like that happen. I have a hokey suspicion that ‘coincidence’ was a message from the universe, or God or whatever greater being possibly exists, telling me that my dream is very much alive.

a fair representation of how I view my Dream Killer

As the result of so many years with the aforementioned “Dream Killer,” my self-esteem has taken a few knocks. Despite the fantastic news from Stonecoast, I found myself filled with negative thoughts about the acceptance. I turned to David and said, “An MFA isn’t a real master’s degree.” He got angry. Later I said, “what if no one else is applying because of the economy, so they had to accept me?” He rolled his eyes and got angry.

My dream is becoming reality. Do I think that I’ll write a best-selling novel and become as famous as Stephen King or Laura Ingalls Wilder? No, but I can hope, right? When I was a child, there was a man in our family named John. He lived with my grandmother and he could ‘see’ things. He could also see dead people. So many of his predictions have become truths over the years. One of his predictions came when I was very small. He said that one day; I would be a famous writer. I know…what came first, the chicken or the egg?

This morning, my love woke up early and researched the country’s low residency MFA programs, their rankings and acceptance rates. He desperately wants me to stop doubting myself and my talent. He woke me to tell me that Stonecoast is in the top ten low residency MFA programs in the country and notoriously selective.

I will (try to) stop doubting myself now. Time to follow my dream…

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Comments

  1. I can't wait to buy your first New York Times Best Seller. I'm going to mail it to you and beg you to autograph it for me and then I'll be all "I know a famous writer – sorta…"

  2. Slidecutter says:

    I hope you know just how absolutely thrilled I am for you but, on the other hand, I'd love to slap all of that self-doubt out of you, silly girl!

    Hey, I know what those Dream Killers are capable of when they take some sick joy out of squashing the hopes and goals from someone in their life. You are so far above the idiocy of that, now departed, creature that you can spit on the fact that he's been able to suck the air on this planet this long. Beast…begone!!

    Please remember us little people when you become a published author. Putting in my request for a signed, First Edition!

    Many Hugs,

    Patty

  3. Amen, sister!! I'm working on it. A bit self-doubt can't be a bad thing though. It makes me work hard to prove myself wrong. πŸ™‚ Hugs and thank you for the encouragement and that excellent letter. You have no idea how much I appreciate it all.

  4. You are a fantastic writer and I have no doubt that you'll be successful. (You already are. . . look at you getting the fancy MFA.) I'm pretty convinced that writing is the most neurotic profession there is. Have you read Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird." She does a great job of getting down to the writer's biggest fears and challenges and how we can overcome them.

  5. I'll buy your book!!! Can't wait to say I knew this famous writer way back when she was blogging! πŸ™‚

  6. Sparkling says:

    Yes, I too love Laura Ingalls Wilder and I think watching the show was when i realized that what I imagine as I read is so rarely portrayed by others on tv and in movies. This is why I rarely watch a movie if I've read the book. What I see is so much more vivid. I will never forget reading about the snowy winters with snow so high and so many blizzards that they had to attach rope to the house and barn and Pa had to follow it hand over hand to just to get back. Ahhh, I'm back there right now just in that one thought!

  7. Congratulations!! That is a serious accomplishment and you should be so proud! By the way, I know you probably have, but have you read and do you love "On Writing" by Stephen King? I hate his books (I'm a wuss) but I loved this one. It makes me fear that I overuse adverbs, but that's okay. Good for you!

  8. Pennington says:

    I'm buying!!! I think that you are an awesome writer! I find it so easy to not give ourselves the credit that we deserve. It seems easier for the ones looking in to see what we have to give. Trust your love, he is correct (tell him it doesn't happen often!) you are a wonderful writer and have earned the right to write! LOL! Congrats I hope things continue to go in the right direction. And hurry up – its hard to find good stories in the "Stephen King" area, without it being cheesy.

  9. Thank you so much everyone! @Becky, I have read On Writing and need to pick it up again. @Pennington, I have written several shorts on the haunted farmhouse i grew up in…not King but you might enjoy them.

  10. midnightoilmomma says:

    So exciting!!! I too love a writer that is so completely descriptive and takes you into a new world. You are a fantastic writer. Why do you think I keep coming back to see what else you have written. Don't doubt. Just what Pennington said…"Trust your Love."

  11. Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy says:

    Girl, you are a fabulous, fabulous writer. NEVER doubt that! But I totally understand what you mean. I share your dream of writing, and my self-doubt continues to plague me on a daily basis. "What if I'm not good enough? What if I need a MFA (which I don't have…so proud of you for having it!) to make it big? What if? What if? What if?"

    I'm a huge believer in chasing dreams, but the self-doubt thing always seems to creep in. BUT I know talent when I read it. And believe me, I've read a lot! And girl, you've got talent.

  12. You, dear sister, are a fabulous writer and I for one have never doubted you! I used to tell people you were going to be a famous writer back when we were kids! STOP doubting yourself! I love how descriptive you are. You immediately transport me to whatever scene you are writing about! I love you and will always be here to support you! XOXOXOX

  13. I know I am going to enjoy reading your blog! Self doubt isn't fun, and I know I am guilty of it too. I've realized though that it doesn't help me accomplish what I want. Go after your dreams, girl! Hope you have a good weekend!!

  14. melody-mae says:

    congrats my friend on your feature on ftlbo and no self-doubt…you are an awesome writer and I for one will be standing in line someday for that autograph!!!!!!

  15. I'm featured??? Wow..gonna go check it out. Thank you Melody Mae!

  16. You can write very well! You will do it!! Good Luck. P.s. I am a HUGE Wilder fan. Huge! πŸ™‚

  17. OOps. I didn't mean you CAN write. I meant You DO write very well LOL. Duuhhh!

  18. Kelli, no, an MFA isn't a "real" masters degree. It's BEYOND a "real" masters degree. In the world of academia, an MFA is a co-equal terminal degree with a Ph.D., J.D., etc. Being accepted is a major accomplishment. Congratulations, and enjoy the journey.

  19. Mommy used to be so pretty... says:

    My heart is full of excitement for you, my sweet blog friend.

    You are inspiring…maybe other *ahem* folks will get off their chunky duff and follow a dream or two.

    Lots of love!!!

    Sarie

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