Writing Fiction: Faith

In Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, a young girl’s emotions are characterised as colourful bods who argue and rail around in her brain: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, Disgust. I have another one. It sits in the shadow at the back of my brain and says, ‘You’ll never be able to do this, you know.’ Call it Doubt. It tells me I’ll never get a novel published, then calls up invented statements from friends and family to support its point. And while they’re carrying on, it just sits at the backs, shrugs and gives me that told-you-so, look.

Truth is, that every now and then, I do make progress in my writing. Someone expresses an interest, I experience a confidence I didn’t have before. What I need, so much, is Faith. It is one thing to turn up every day and write. It is quite another to believe that what I’m doing is exactly what I need to be doing. That changes the quality of the experience.

Faith is not so much a character as one of those circular lamps in the ceiling whose glow helps me to see more clearly. It encourages a going-forward, rather than a holding-back. It says, be creative in just this moment, the rest will look after itself.

As for Doubt, there will always be place in my head for that. It is, after all, trying to protect me from the pain of disappointment. Probably needs a hot chocolate or something.

I am in a mood to entertain a little more faith though, and see where that gets me.


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