I know I’m a little late to the conversation, but I’ve bookmarked this post in my mind to come back to when I had time to respond, because I feel like it’s such an important conversation to have. The questions you’re asking out loud are ones we have all had in our heads, I promise you that. I’m right there with you. So here are a few things that have helped me (most are pieces of advice from my friends and fellow writers/creators who are wiser than me).
Know that you are never alone in that self-doubt. We all know what that little burst of panic feels like right before you hit the ‘post’ button. We all know the neurotic refreshing of feeds to see if we’ve gotten feedback. We all know how many times we hover around the ‘edit’ button because we’ve convinced ourselves that what we shared was just pure shit and nothing profound at all. So remind yourself when you’re there, that we’re there with you. :) And then tell that voice in your head that condemns what you’ve written to STFU.
Trust your own work. If it’s dark, it’s dark. I love dark stuff. (I mean, I don’t LOVE the pain, but I love the fucking kick-in-your-chest kind of writing.) I also love writers who are brave enough to go there. If something is just writing itself through you, go with it. It’ll tell you when it’s done. Stay loyal to it once you’re finished; if you love it and no one else does, don’t change it in hopes it’ll coax them to hit that damn recommend button (easier said than done, I realize).
Then this: “If it makes you feel better after you’re done, the writing is doing its job.” That was a piece of advice given to me by someone wonderful who knows writing a lot better than I do. If it’s cathartic and healing and allows you to make some sense of the senseless, it’s worth something and it’s sacred and someone (or a lot of someones) somewhere is going to sit with it and feel an easing of their pain because of it.
If you feel you’re in a slump, unearth some new inspiration. Find a new poet, novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, etc. whose work you can sink your teeth into. That helps shake me out of ruts all the time. My new writer crush: Warsan Shire. She’s probably not new to most but she is to me and she’s breathtaking.
And in the end, just keep going. :) Best to you. Your writing has fire.