Doubt and a Dancing Centipede

When I first started writing, my schedule was lax. I didn’t worry about how much or how little I was writing because it wasn’t something I intended to pursue in a professional way. It was a hobby and only for me.

The change happened over time and soon I knew I wanted to make writing my career. I started reading up on other people’s writing habits, learning all I could about world-building and character arcs. I attended conferences, workshops and participated in more than one webinar. With each new lesson learned, I improved my craft.

But each improvement brought a kernel of doubt.

How many times did I read about people juggling multiple responsibilities, marketing, and still finding time to write a bestseller? I can fill pages with the names of writers who claimed to write everyday, no matter what! Not to mention the notorious show, don’t tell.

Is this something I can do? That was never a question. The real question was how did I write a book before I knew all that? Did I need to analyze my writing techniques that much?

I keep thinking of this story I read in Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (one of my all-time favorite books)about the Dancing Centipede and the Jealous Tortoise. If you want the complete story and haven’t read Sophie’s World (which I highly recommend you do) the blog, Just Alchemy does an excellent job.

Essentially, the centipede, Ghawazhee, questioned her methods, methods that had won her acclaim, because she was asked how she danced so well. It paralyzed her and she never wrote again. Tragic!

The point to my rather rambling post is to encourage anyone (including myself) to remember is that sometimes it’s okay to block out all the lessons and doubts and just write. In my opinion, writers are inspired more often than they like to admit. Discipline may have helped me publish a book, but imagination made the book possible.

close up of human hand

Photo by Pixabay on

13 thoughts on “Doubt and a Dancing Centipede

  1. Well said. It’s so easy to get wrapped around the axle when it comes to all the how’s. Sometimes you just have put it aside and do the thing. Every first draft sucks. I remind myself of that constantly. Keep at it, no one ever succeeded by giving up.

  2. Lovely article. I am always so interested and kind of thrilled (not gonna lie!) to read other writers’ thoughts on the whole creative process! It’s stimulating!

    Thank you for sharing this piece!

  3. Pingback: November Round-up: 8 excellent articles I want to share | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

  4. Hi, Very Good Article. it. The whole article is wonderful and very helpful. Keep up the Good Work Thanks for always sharing.
    Imran Khan

    Unique Web Studio, LLC

    Gainesville, VA 20155.

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