“If the artist starts evaluating himself, it’s an enormous block, isn’t it?” – Philip Guston, painter
Before you go on a tangent today, criticizing your writing (as well as your personality, your life, and the dog with scruffy ears you got at the pound), consider taking a walk.
Instead of spending the better part of the afternoon in a whirlpool of self-doubt, you might find this: a flattened raccoon on the edge of a two-lane highway.
Then you might think, what if I were the type of person who took a raccoon home for dinner? Or better yet, what if I were a taxidermist who specialized in roadkill finds? At this point, you might begin to consider what being a roadkill-taxidermist would mean for you, if that were your life calling. Perhaps you’d take your stuffed roadkill to taxidermy conferences. Maybe you’d explain how you keep some parts of the animal flattened and ragged and bloody because you don’t want to create stuffed, inauthentic “life” from death by 18-wheeler. Maybe you want your viewers to focus on the momento mori of these unfortunate critters. And God knows if you were a roadkill taxidermist you would certainly talk to those dead squirrels, opossums, and armadillos. Who knows, they might talk back.
And just like that, you’ve forgotten about the worm of self-doubt, and instead you’re sitting down at your computer to write about deranged taxidermists and their disemboweled, talking raccoons. Sure, no one might ever read your story, but what does it matter?
You’ve just made friends with a taxidermist and all of his flattened rodent friends, and sometimes, that’s just enough.