Because we all need some. I hit the wall of doubt that the Novel Doctor mentions last year, and it’s through no strength of my own that I got through it. The raptor dragged me bodily over it and made sure I didn’t turn around again. Best dinosaur ever.
The first time you ran into a wall it came as a surprise. Not because you didn’t believe in walls, but because you didn’t know they could appear in the middle of a sentence.
But you broke through it like the Kool-Aid Man, with the same broad smile, the same blatant disregard for plaster and paint. Because you were a writer and that’s what writers do. They persist.
And persist you did. Through the next wall and the next, until one day you hesitated.
Do other writers run into this many walls? you wondered.
Writing used to be about ideas and dreams. Once, you were an architect with an empty skyline and a pocketful of girders. But something happened along the way. You were demoted to demolition. Oh, you found certain strange satisfaction in the power to destroy with the press of a button. But it didn’t last. Before long you were staring at ten thousand craters where a hundred buildings should be.
On that day, and with dust-choked despair, you thought The Thought That Must Not Be Thought.
“Maybe I’m not a writer after all.”
In that moment, the earth stopped spinning, the Walden woods grew dark, James Patterson put down his pen. Everything and everyone waited.
Would you walk away? Would this be the wall that defeats you? Would you give up your dream? Could you?
You sighed in resignation. No, not yet. Every other writer sighed in relief.
And the world resumed its spin.
You took stock.
This is not as easy as it once was.
You are not as good as you thought you were.
You have a lot to learn about writing. About re-writing. About trusting your instincts. About breaking bad habits.
You do not yet suffer in brilliance; you suffer because you’re not yet brilliant.
And so the wall looks at you. You look at the wall.
You lift your fingers, set them gently on the keyboard. And you begin again to write.
Meanwhile someone is watching from a little ways off. She looks a lot like you, only older. She smiles, then whispers, not quite loud enough for you to hear…
You’re better than you think you are.