Spent all day today driving from San Diego to Santa Rosa. My husband and I finished a book on tape called Vanished, and it was wonderful. A real thriller. Highly recommend the unabridged version. I suddenly feel in awe of this author, doubting myself again. This happens sometimes when I read too much while I’m trying to create. But I wanted to hear the pacing of the tension, the way he chose his chapter hooks (and he did it very well), the complicated plot that was just difficult enough to make it unpredictable, but not too confusing. It was riveting. Testament to that was the number of wrong turns we took. We ignored the very polite woman on the GPS and found ourselves listening to her say, “recalculating” several times. Now, that’s a good book, right?
Sometimes you want the reader to know where it’s going to go. Like the woman walking down a dark alleyway. We are saying, just like we do when we watch a horror film on TV: “Get out of there right now. Are you nuts?” But no, the writer takes you there, and you just know what could happen, and we are thrilled when it does, but is even better than we had imagined. That is what I call the genius factor.
So, I was thinking about that today, as a big black cloud traveled over our car and seemed to follow us until dark. I knew when I checked on my chickens, cats and dogs, my garden, I’d discover everyone was still alive and in great shape. But I worried about them. Like I sometimes worry about my talent.
Then I remembered something I was told: Talent is Overrated. It’s all about the hard work, the focus, singleness of purpose. Plants and animals live. They don’t sabotage themselves or talk themselves out of being miraculous. Everything they do is consistent with their lifelong goals. We humans have way more choice, and there’s good and bad with that.
The boats. I remembered watching the boats, the crunches, the wet and sandy. The sheer
determination and singleness of purpose.
A young SEAL told me he felt lucky to have found something he truly loved doing at such a young age. He felt fortunate to have the opportunity to push himself, to find out what his limits were.
Suddenly, when the sky turned dark and the stars came out, I followed the highway, and realized, the dark cloud was gone.
And now I’m excited to spend all day tomorrow doing a writing marathon, getting my little boat (my story) over the rocky boulders of doubt and back onto the beach for some editing crunches. And then I’ll do it all over again.
Afterall, I don’t want to miss this boat. There might not be a second chance at this great opportunity.
What about you? What do you do when you doubt yourself? Did your mama prepare you for days like this?