Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Doubt


As a writer, I doubt myself on a daily basis; in writing and in other facets of my life. Doubt is natural. A small dose can be motivating and keeps us in check. But when we doubt ourselves, aren't we automatically setting ourselves up to doubt others?

Yesterday, I read an article about a very accomplished physician and writer. I had heard of him last year when he published a best seller, intended to research him more, and somehow forgot. The article described his love for literature and provided a laundry list of his awards and accomplishments in medicine. He hides out in his office for two days a week just to write and apparently, his bookshelf is stocked with poetry and medical books. Amazing, huh?

For a split second, I considered reaching out to him with a heart felt e-mail but then I stopped myself. How naive (and stalkerish) am I? This revered Renaissance man's inbox is probably saturated with messages from all sorts of people. Why would he care about what I would have to say? In the slim chance that he even has time to read it, he will probably dismiss it with the other million e-mails.

After toying around with the thought, I decided I had nothing to lose and my intention---to express how grateful and inspired I was---was what really mattered. So, I shared my gratitude and medical/creative writing journey with him and without any expectations, clicked "Send." All I wanted was for him to know how much he had touched someone.

So, you can imagine my surprise when within one hour, I have a lengthy reply! He gave me advice, encouragement, shed light on his rougher times in balancing the two arts, and his contact information.

Sometimes we forget how genuine people can be. We allow their success to mark them as "unreachable." But in the end, they are people, just like the rest of us. They all started somewhere with something.

And no matter what, appreciation always goes a long way!

Do you suffer from daily doubt? When have you surprised yourself?

15 comments:

  1. This is so lovely! I read a how to write book (I think it was by Carolyn See) where she suggested doing exactly what you did - reaching out to a writer you enjoy reading just to say thank you, I enjoy your works. She said she did it all the time. After I read this, I did the same thing (but through snail mail) and I got a lovely reply back, too. You've reminded me how nice it was - I think I'll start doing it again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is wonderful to hear! It goes to show that while we can anticipate with the best of them, we can never truly know how something will turn out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's awesome! I'm so glad this story had a good ending! You've convinced me to reach out to someone who has inspired me. Even if the person doesn't reply (we all know how life can get in the way of good intentions!), it's always nice to show appreciation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm going through a daily doubt now about my writing actually and the anthology I will be published in. It helps to talk to people about it. :) great post and you are right- gratitude goes along way and to many people don't give it...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I DO suffer from daily doubt too. My husband is always on me to take a chance, to reach out. And when I do, I'm never disappointed. You'd think I'd learn!

    I'm glad you realized you had nothing to lose and you got such a great response back. There aren't too many people with your interest combo. You should all find one another.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am so glad that you wrote to him! Sometime we forget that they too are normal people. :)

    I too had once written to an author whose books endeared New England to me. It was fun and nice to know tidbits of Massachusetts when I was very much new here. I was pleasantly surprised when she wrote back to me.

    Thanks for commenting, Saumya. It is indeed nice to meet a fellow Brahmin!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I know who you're talking about! My friend emailed me the article and I read it too. He's an amazing person. I'm so glad he reached out and gave you encouragement.

    We all suffer from doubt. Anyone who doesn't is a liar, delusional, or an egomaniac, and none of which are good company. In my humble opinion!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Now that is a man I call great. To take the time to reply to someone from whom he is going to get nothing in return. Restores your faith in human nature.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes your right such people do exist, and I am so pleased you didn't back off from writing to him. How many times we miss a good chance by falling prey to our own doubts. Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Absolutely, every single day. It's comforting to know that we are all in the same boat ... we're only human.

    That's amazing you received a reply ... in an hour!! I take weeks sometimes to reply to friends That's chaos for you ... I need to be as focused as your inspirational mentor. lol

    Good luck with your novel, by the way. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It can be so easy to focus on the negative that we forget to give people a chance to surprise us. I think most people who have "succeeded" remember what it was like to be struggling and uncertain of their standing and are willing to reach out to help others. I am glad this doctor was so inspiring and helpful to you. It makes the journey a lot less lonely!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't think a day goes by without me doubting something, usually my writing. It's hard to be certain about everything, I think, and I've always found that if you can be certain about just one thing - about your love for someone, maybe, or about a talent you have - then all the other uncertainties are completely bearable! It's like having one rock to anchor you :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great post. Glad to see both that you wrote and got a nice reply.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wonderful that he took the time to answer and encourage you! That does impress me more than anything.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete