When In Doubt

This morning, during a late breakfast* I was attempting to read Flow Magazine and came across this article, “A Little Doubt Is Good For You.” It made me realize that a little doubt isn’t my problem. I think a whole lot of doubt is my problem. Do you ever feel that way? Like nothing you do is good enough? I don’t feel this way about my every day life – for example, I think I’m a pretty kick-ass mom and a decent cook – but I definitely feel this way about my writing most of the time. I think that is why this blog is so neglected – because I feel like I have nothing interesting to say anymore. I think this is why I have such a hard time finishing a story – because by the time I get far enough into it I’m pretty sure it sucks so what is the point in continuing?


Sometimes children say the darndest things, don’t they? Like the time Fionnuala told me “I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up but if I don’t want to be anything I can be just like you mom!” Or the time people were talking about what their moms were good at (I think this was at Sparks) and Moira said I was good at: “putting the kettle on and lighting the kitchen on fire.” (That happened once! ONCE! And I had just had baby number three!)


Yeah, I know. They don’t “mean” it – but is it any wonder why it took me so long to feel okay about staying home with my children if even they feel that way about me? Just as we become the voice our children hear in their heads when they grow up sometimes those children can be the voice in our heads. “You look really pretty mom, except your face.” And so it is just easier to hide away. Sometimes it is easier to hide away those things that we really want to accomplish but are too afraid to share. For me it is writing. The article says that doubt is good at pushing you forward and that the only way to get past your doubts is to keep on going. Unless your doubts are paralyzing and then who knows what you are supposed to do. When that happens to me when I feel paralyzed but what I am currently doing is start a new story. I’m really good at starting new stories, or outlining new stories, and not so good about finishing them.


Anyway, some days I think I’m doing a pretty good job of keeping it together. Some days I think about how Rachel Carson was writing Silent Spring while dying from breast cancer and I really need to get off my ass and put something out there in the world. I’m not even currently dying from breast cancer, I’m just suffering from it on my bad days, and feeling mostly fine on my good days.


So I was thinking one way to kick my butt back into writing more often would be to open the floor to questions and I will post the answers – kind of like an online interview. I did this years ago on this blog (back when I was a daily blogger, drunk on the freedom of not having children and twelve devoted followers) and it was a lot of fun. I feel like so many blogs these days only want to sell you something or give you life advice. I’ve got neither. But I still miss writing in this space. Of course, if you are looking for advice I could probably make something up. However my qualifications these days are limited to putting on the kettle. Even my attempt at burning down the kitchen was marginal at best so I have struck it from my resume.


Anyway, these seems like a good idea to me – although I am heavily medicated right now, so maybe it isn’t? (There’s those nagging doubts again.) Medication can only make my answers funnier.

*I feel mentioning a late breakfast is important because no way am I able to read during breakfast on a regular day. I’m barely allowed to sit and chew. Also, breakfast is always in the dark and photo ops are few and far between.

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