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Overcoming Self-Doubt

November 1, 2003 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I'm an English teacher in a kindergarten in Po-hang, South Korea. I got the biggest laugh from your comments about life not being that bad compared to being on a roadtrip in a car full of small children! I'm a writer too and I want to ask you, How do you manage to take the time each day to write and overcome the laziness, the self-doubt, and the many distractions of life?
— Nebraska Boy

Dear Nebraska,
Laziness is a gift and part of any civilized life and one should enjoy it to the hilt especially as you get older. A writer spends a good deal of his time in lazing around and thinking and contemplating things in an unregulated way and any writer who doesn't is wound a little too tight. In the end, what drives a person is some sense of duty to one's own gift such as it is (and a guy my age has a lot of shame for having wasted his gift so flagrantly) and also the dread of boredom. I used to watch TV and don't anymore. Lost interest in pro football. Don't do any business entertaining. Don't read books that don't interest me. You throw a lot of this junk overboard and it opens up large lovely expanses of time in which you can do what truly interests you—in my case, writing prose fiction and doing radio. Simple.

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