The problem? Writer's block.
Or is it?
I've been mentally debating this for a little while now, and I have to wonder if writer's block is the only monster out there in the world of crafting stories. I think it has an older brother that's the root of the plague. It disguises itself as something else and calls itself writer's block.
In other words, I believe we've been misdiagnosing the problem here.
Now, that's not to say writer's block isn't a valid issue. It is! There are times when you hit an obstacle that blocks off your flow of creativity. But there's also more to this than meets the eye.
Let's use our imagination for a bit. (I'm assuming you guys can, since you're writers too, or even just humans in general.) Let's pretend you have a friend who's sick. They've gone to see a doctor about it, and they've been prescribed to some medicine. There are certain steps they have to take in order to get their health about.
One day, while you two are talking, your friend mentions it to you. You've had the same sickness in the past, so you ask them about the symptoms. They tell you about them, and you realize that something's wrong here: the symptoms aren't the same ones you had. You were told back then that there's a similar sickness. Your friend has been misdiagnosed.
Can you imagine what kind of consequences could ensue? If you treat a medical issue wrongly, you can become worse because of it. In the same fashion, when writers encounter this mysterious creature in their journey and label it as "writer's block," they will treat it as such. And this could do more harm than good.
So, then, what are we actually up against here?
You see, you cannot deal with doubt in the same fashion as a lack of creative ideas. If you're suffering from writer's block, you can problem-solve your way out of the situation, and you can often enlist the help of others. When facing doubt, it's up to you--and only you--to break past and keep going.
What makes doubt such a crippling foe? When you doubt yourself and your writing, you question if you're any good at what you do. You think no one would ever want to read what you have to say. If the doubt is strong enough, you may even consider calling it quits. This issue springs forth from your self-worth, or lack thereof. You are the only person who determines if you'll move forward and keep running the race set out before you . . . or if you'll get tired of running and walk away from it all.
I think we encounter this problem at least once, if not multiple times, in our life. Even if you're not a writer, you can still wrestle with this debilitating doubt. Sometimes, when I've had long spans of not writing, I wonder if part of the reason for that was because I felt I didn't measure up.
Now the question is, if writer's doubt is such a big problem that needs to be discussed, how do we deal with it? That will be the subject of a future blog post. For now, I needed to present the issue and see what you think. We're all in this together. None of us are above experiencing doubt in our stories. We must all take a stand and fight back, because we know we are doing what God has called us to do. That knowledge alone is the start of beating back the monster.
What do you think? Is doubt the beast lurking under the name of "writer's block"? Have we been misdiagnosing the problem? If not, do share why! I'm curious to hear all of your thoughts.