“I can’t do this. I’m not good enough, and I can’t make people care.”

Those are the things that run through my mind with an alarming frequency these days. It doesn’t seem to matter what the context is. Writing, relationships, job prospects– more often than not, my reactions are the same. 

It’s not unsupported doubt. It’s not as though I snapped into awareness after a successful run suddenly besieged by it. The doubt started slowly. Maybe it only lingered around my toes for years. Relationships have never been my strength, so as one of the most important of my life eroded, the doubt settled somewhere around my knees– not suffocating, just prepared to take out my legs when the prospect for future relationships wavered hazily in the distance. 

Even now as I try to push past it, to make my leaden limbs move in baby steps toward something, I hear, “What’s the point? It would never work. You’ll never make him happy.” Of course, I was dumped, essentially, by a man I’ve never met recently (quite the trick, really), so the voice isn’t entirely wrong.

In case you haven’t noticed, my writing isn’t exactly taking the world by storm. People have been kind. They’ve said nice things. But no one is writing a check. Job offers aren’t flooding in to me. Managers aren’t hanging around my PO box hoping for a minute of my time. Nothing of mine is going viral (which, normally, I feel is a good thing, but in this case apparently not).

I don’t know how to make people care. I don’t know how to be good enough at what I’m doing to change anything into a positive. I can’t will what I want to happen. So, instead, I sit here feeling the doubt plant itself in my stomach. It’s brought along its friend dread, and they’ve started to squeeze. With each misstep, unanswered query or disinterested stare, I close my eyes and falter.

“I can’t do this. I’m not good enough, and I can’t make people care.”

6 comments on “Doubt”

  1. Helen

    Call me crazy, but I just don’t think Patti would succumb to doubt. What ever happened to her anyway? As for the writing, you’ve lived in LA long enough to know that making it in the business isn’t only about talent. There are plenty of people who are very talented, who are more than good enough, who have not gotten a break yet. The reality is it’s a tough business. Many more people want to do it, than there are actual jobs for and at the end of the day it isn’t just about having the chops, it’s about who you know…about putting your work into the right hands. And, like sales, it is a job that requires a lot of resiliency. You must be prepared to hear no dozens, maybe hundreds, of time before you hear yes. How does one keep going in the face of rejection? By not assuming they are the reason for the failure. If your automatic reaction is “I’m not good enough” you’re going to give up much more quickly than if you say things like “I’m just not a good fit for this person at this time” or “maybe he just didn’t really “get” it the way I know other people will.” I don’t think there is any question that people like you’re writing. I have known successful writers before. It literally took them years to get to the point where they could make a living at it. You need to be tenacious. And you need to believe you’re good enough before you can convince anyone else you are.

  2. Dee Murray

    Well, there are those that say that others won’t care if you don’t – self doubt and confidence are both noticable in a person. On the other hand, I would subscribe to the Hemingway form of writing: get spectacularly smashed on rum-based girly drinks and hammer away at the ol’ keyboard and see what you come up with! May be dross, may be the next Sun Also Rises…either way, rum-based girly drinks will make it all better!

  3. Gerald Douglas

    Doubt eats at your being. It becomes all encompassing but you will learn to defeat it. It’s easy to say hey shake it off but that’s not life. You will have to take hold of your gifts and desires and fight for the happiness you deserve.

    I won’t blow smoke, unless i’m holding a Guinness, but simply say you can and will hurdle this. Keep writing as you don’t want to lose that marvelous voice of yours.

  4. Anasazi

    Living with doubt and regret is no way to live. I don’t say that lightly or with ease either. We don’t get another chance at life. We know that intellectually, but we don’t know it viscerally, or we don’t really believe it. Push the doubt away because one day you’ll realize all those doubts and fears and regret didn’t mean a damned thing in the grand scheme.

  5. mateo

    i don’t think you’re going to be successful by writing self defeating blog posts. try to write scripts, plays, stories, movies– submit them to contests and festivals and anything else you come across. no one is going to come search your computer files for the next great thing.
    also, if you don’t think you’re good enough, i can guarantee you no one else will either.

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