Furthermore, most of them think these doubts are in themselves a sign of weakness or failure--surely the truly talented and successful writers and artists don't have these anxieties?
That's why I was particularly interested to read an essay by Robert Fritz, author of of the best-seller on creativity, "The Path of Least Resistance." Here's part of what he wrote:
"...the most successful, accomplished, innovative, and creative people did not have positive attitudes and thoughts, hardly ever thought that well of themselves, and were not filled with a heightened sense of self-love. The most common human trait was a sense of doubt, a lack of personal esteem and confidence, and a pronounced lack of a belief in themselves. Instead, they cared about what they were creating. They were in a different business than the belief business. They were in the creating business."
Fritz's essay is about the misleading idea that the most important thing is believing in yourself or adhering to "The Secret"--the law of attraction that has suggested that if you think enough about something it will automatically come to pass. He says that, yes, sometimes the things you think about or want do come your way. Other times they don't. You have to get on with your creative work either way.Fritz's list of those who doubted themselves includes Einstein, Churchill, Edison, Ben Franklin Georgia O'Keefe, Elvis, Babe Ruth and Carl Jung.
His prescription is simple, if not always easy: "In the creating business it doesn't matter what you believe, but how well you create. In fact, the central questions are: what result do I want to create? Where am I now? And how will I move from here to there. No matter what you believe, good, bad, or indifferent, you will be able to master your own creative process, and use that mastery in your own life-building process."
While I do basically agree with him, I also believe it's very useful to transform a harsh, crippling inner critic into a constructive guide. I offer a program for doing that--you can find out about it here.This essay also led me to re-reading his book, "Creativity," and I'll share some more of his ideas with you here shortly.