Every creative person wears a cape of doubt. It hangs there, constantly weighing at our backs, flip-flopping when the wind isn’t quite right, and trying its best to trip us up.
Whenever I voice this doubt, the (amazingly supportive) people in my life tell me, “Morgan, you can’t do that to yourself. You’re a wonderful writer. Don’t doubt, just create.”
I do appreciate the encouragement, but sometimes I have an incredibly hard time ignoring my doubt. In fact, ask any creative person and they will probably tell you the same.
I’m sure all of you have heard the saying that goes, “you are your own worst critic.” Sometimes I shrug off the actual meaning of the saying because I hear it so often, but there is a frightening and resonant truth to it that I can’t ignore –it’s me. I’m the one letting the doubt drown out my hopes, dreams, and aspirations. I control the volume.
Sylvia Plath said, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
So here’s the thing: I had a thought! Maybe, just maybe, we should be looking at our doubt, our “capes”, from a different perspective.
Stick with me here!
I’d like to introduce you to Susan — Susan is a wonderful person. She spends her free time running three children to various school activities and loves keeping up with the latest celebrity gossip, but she claims that she isn’t creative. When she sees you, creative person, she’s jealous. You have something she doesn’t; a pretty cape.
Little does she know how heavy that cape, that doubt, truly is.
Susan can’t see your struggles, nor the inner-editor that constantly nags at you. All she can see is your passion, your talent, and your ability to create something from nothing.
Your cape, to her, is one of the the most beautiful things she’s ever seen.
I decided several months ago that I needed to start looking at my doubt in a different light; that I needed to let it stoke the fire as opposed to snuffing it out.
Ever since I made that decision, I’ve been more productive. I’ve written, planned, edited, and even read more.
I’m not saying this is an easy battle. There are times when I want nothing more than to rip off my cape and tear it to shreds, but then I remind myself that my cape is a gift… a gift that not everyone receives.
Some days are easy. Some days are hard. Some days I require ice cream and drinks that you can’t purchase from the soda aisle.
I’m slowly learning to befriend my self-doubt.
And from now on, I’m going to (attempt) to do this cape justice (sorry, Edna).
Join me, fellow writer, fellow creative person.
Don’t give up on yourself.
You are truly amazing and talented and your dreams do matter.
Turn down the volume on your doubt and march forward.
Your ideas are worth it.
You are worth it.