1. I am not working hard enough (every other writer is producing much more than I am.) This idea may crop up even after I have put in 6 hours and my head is about to explode.)
2. I may have written something good once--and I say that only because reviewers said it--but that doesn't mean I can do it ever again. But wait, I'm a book critic and I don't say things I don't mean about books, so why should any other reviewer? And there is that great John Irving quote about feeling that you are on the verge on humiliating yourself and losing control, which means you are pushing the boundaries.
3. I have no plot. Or, it is tired and stupid and embarrassing. Or, it simply does not make sense. (See Irving quote above.)
4. I don't know how to schmooze and network enough and I spend way too much time anxious that either I will not get readings or no one will show up. Or worse, one person will show up who will be there to witness that no one else showed up. This bookstore thing happens to a lot of writers. It makes a funny story. Not then, but later.
5. No other writer suffers when they write, but somehow, effortlessly and with great grace, produces masterworks. Uh huh.
I also know that all this business in my brain is a kind of Jewish Evil Eye, a protection against disaster. I also think it is just what writers do. We imagine the most dramatic scenario, where the stakes are the highest, and then we play it out in our heads.
Sigh and alas. Back to work for me. And truly--though I am probably the 2009 winner for the Most Insecure Person on the Planet Award, I love what I do. I feel so lucky that I get to do something that feels so important to me, and so rich. And if these worries are part of it, well it is still so much better than when I worked for Columbia House and had to write reams of copy about how many videos a customer could get for $24.95 with dividend dollars.