Notes on doubt

notes from a session on Doubt, at Justen Ahren’s Devotion to Writing workshop,
Noepe, Edgartown, 2015

Ring the bells that you must ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen

Doubt is:
every day
a good worker

not just feeling, emotion, but exploring structure, meter, music, tension is structure, structure is tension

doubt signals that we’re at the edge, increasing the boundaries of our craft

doubt creates a chance to pause, slow down, deepen our resolve

train your doubt: e.g., “why do you think this is ugly?”
demand proof

doubt is attentive, persistent, potentially one of your best workers. ask it, “why shouldn’t I be writing that?”

we do not doubt what is mundane and casual

we doubt what is new

how can we not have doubt about something new? new to the world, new to ourselves

what doors are we opening?

pink paper clip, blue-purple wooden top, grabbing brass ring

coming back to a work: getting quiet, listening, because sometimes we mishear the universe during a first draft

What is the cost of writing — your whole life, but it is not a life that is lost, it is a life that is gained. — Joseph Stroud





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