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The Writer's Guide to agony and Defeat, #1

You Deem Yourself Unworthy

You have a burning desire to write a book – an idea that haunts you like a ghost in the attic – but you don’t think you have the talent or the skill or the expertise to write it. “Who am I to write a book?” you ask. “I’m just a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker.” You cast around for someone to give you permission to write – a teacher, a friend who writes, a famous writer you met that one time at a sign-ing, your mom – but no one ever gives you permission, because it’s not their job. It’s your job and you’re not doing it. Your thoughts of unworthiness grow even deeper and stronger, until you believe it with your whole heart: you are not someone who can write a book. What were you even thinking?? You take up tennis, knitting, become a voracious reader of other people’s books -- but the burning desire to write doesn’t go away. It smolders there, often for a lifetime, turn-ing into a jagged, hard-edged regret. “I always wanted to write a book,” you say, and people smile their close-lipped smiles and quickly look away. 


Stop looking outside for answers. Give yourself permission to create. You’re the only one who can grant it, and the only one who can take it away. 

If there are certain aspects about writing that you need to learn – certain skills you need to develop, certain elements you need to mas-ter – start practicing. They say it takes 10,000 hours to gain mastery in any given area, and they’re not just talking about speaking French or performing brain surgery. They’re talking about writing something strangers will want to read. You may have mastered some of these skills over the years through your day job, or by journaling, or by writ-ing on the sly. For everything else, the clock starts now. 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an un-told story inside you.” 
 ― Maya Angelou