A Writer’s Less Than Supportive Subconscious

I was wondering what to post today. Meghan is still recovering from the heatwave and doesn’t feel very poetic. She’ll be back soon. But Sunday night, my subconscious decided to help. Well, I hope it was help. But I can’t rule out taunting. . . .

I thought I’d be dreaming about spiders this weekend thanks to Susaartandfood’s recent post. If you haven’t checked out Susie’s blog yet, you should. She tells great stories and shares fantastic recipes. But no such luck. Honestly, spiders might have been better than the dream I had Sunday night.

In that dream I found myself at one of my undergraduate colleges (there were two—I transferred). I walked past a classroom and saw my old freshman English professor. Of course, he hadn’t aged a day, but I recognized him by the copy of The Little, Brown Reader by his desk. (Yes, strange. Remember, this was a dream.)

I happily walked in and introduced myself as one of his former students. This, after all, was the professor who in the real world told me my writing had a great sense of style. And I was one of only two students to get an A for the course. The dream world students sat there as if this was an ordinary occurrence.

He politely asked what I was doing. Did I tell him I was an archaeologist as I do in real life? No, I told him I was writing two novels. And I started telling him about Summer at the Crossroads. I tried an off-the-cuff elevator pitch.

It was horrible. I kept saying things like, “Oh, I should have mentioned,” or, “I know it sounds strange, but trust me, it works.” I apologized for not having a pitch perfected yet. And my happiness deflated with every word as he shook his head and his interest waned.

He did perk up when I tried to explain Catherine’s idea that vivid dreams and déjà vu, for example, are glimpses of our lives in other universes. But what caught his attention wasn’t those two examples. No. It was “favorite fantasies of an alternate life.” I had to explain I didn’t mean those kinds of fantasies. He was disappointed. (And, guys, I apologize for my subconscious stereotyping your reactions.)

As I lamely finished, he said,” I thought I remembered you, but I was mistaken.”

Mercifully, I woke up.

But you can imagine how I felt Monday morning. If this was my subconscious trying to help with an idea for a blog post, it could have given me something more encouraging.

After all, writers are an insecure lot. Okay, maybe not all. Some have a healthy dose of self-confidences and others could share their overabundance with the rest of us. But most of us question our writing, if not every day, then maybe once a week or a few times a month.

I’m certainly in a questioning state of mind these days. That may be what triggered the dream. I know the Muse gave me two good stories. But even as I work on the revisions, I ask myself—can I turn them into good, well-written books? That’s where my self-doubt comes into play. I know it will pass. At some point I’ll read a section that I like and will think, “This is good.” And my confidence in my writing will return. But that could happen any paragraph now. . . .

Does self-doubt grab you often? How do you subdue it?