I read a blog post in October and it’s been knocking around my head ever since. Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Non-Conformity talked about whether qualifications are important for what you want to do with your life and it connected with me.
I think a lot about my qualifications for being a writer. You know, that conversation in your head that starts “Who do you think you are, trying to… ?” Fill in the blank with whatever you are moving towards in a positive way, whether it’s a career, education, healthy relationships, changing the world. Self-doubt is a nemesis for many people, no matter their vocation or level in life. Self-doubt can whisper above the roar of accomplishment and applause.
I think you have to talk back to your self-doubt, talk it back into that dark corner of the room where it waits until it spots a vulnerable moment. My self-doubt is a little sister to Perfectionist Me (meet Perfectionist Me here and here). She responds well to lists. So I let her think she has the upper hand with a list.
Why I am not qualified to be a writer:
- I do not have a degree in creative writing, English, Journalism, or ANYTHING.
- I have no job experience in anything that resembles professional writing.
- I’m on the backside of the ‘building a career’ age curve.
- I am not a great philosopher, leader, or visionary who has something to say that will change society.
- I don’t have expertise or celebrity that “sell” me and my product (writing) to people.
Self-doubt is rubbing her hands with glee, she thinks discouragement and stagnation are not far behind. Then I give her the OTHER list:
Why I am qualified to be a writer:
- I’ve had this feeling, not necessarily a dream, more like a gnawing suspicion since childhood that this is what I should be doing, even when I ignored it or talked myself out of it, it never went away.
- I can and am doing the work it takes to learn to be the best writer I am capable of being.
- I have the will to keep going even when it’s not glamorous or easy and there is no money or prestige involved.
- I have something to say that may change the way one person thinks.
- I’ve been created for a unique plan and purpose.
- My heart beats faster when I write.
The mind-clouding monster of self-doubt shrinks back in the dark corner where it belongs. I am victorious until our next battle. There WILL be a next battle. We will perform this ritual again, but each time it’s a little bit easier. And in the meantime, I write.