Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
“This is new territory. I am an explorer.”

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A wonderful writer and online friend is making a guest appearance on MJ Rose's blog every Friday starting today. Sue O'Doherty, PhD, is a psychologist specializing in issues affecting writers, and is no slouch herself. (And, in the interest of full disclosure, she has a lovely essay in It's a Boy.)

Today she tackles two questions from writers, one on envy and one on self-doubt. In response to the writer who grapples with self-doubt, Dr. Sue replies:

    Paul Cézanne once said that each time he finished painting an apple, he believed he had solved the problem of painting apples. But then, when he moved on to the next apple, it was an entirely new apple, and he had to start all over again. ... When you feel yourself falling into the trap of self-doubt, take out a piece of paper and write the following: "This is new territory. I am an explorer." Tack it up on your bulletin board. Look at it once an hour, and write it over again if necessary. Remind yourself that the most important work you are doing is in the process itself. You are discovering and recording aspects of yourself and the world that are uniquely yours. If this were easy, there would be no point to it. You are mapping out new territory, and it may be harrowing—and, for that matter, you may not arrive at the destination you had set out for. But you will experience wonders along the way, and you will transmit them to paper to the best of your ability.

Andrea J. Buchanan is a writer living in Philadelphia. In addition to her latest book, The Double-Daring Book For Girls (HarperCollins), she is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Daring Book For Girls, The Pocket Daring Book For Girls: Things To Do, and The Pocket Daring Book For Girls: Wisdom and Wonder along with Miriam Peskowitz. She is also the author of Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It (Seal Press) and the editor of three anthologies: It’s a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons; Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined; and It’s a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters (all from Seal Press). Before becoming a writer, Andi was a classical pianist; she studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where she earned her bachelor of music degree, and continued her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, earning a master’s degree in piano performance. Her last recital was at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. She is the mother of a daughter and a son, both of whom are equally daring.


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