Act as though you have faith. Faith will come afterwards.
- Isaac Bashevis Singer
Many years ago I took a week off from my full-time job to go to a writer’s colony in Vermont. It was my first experience doing this kind of thing and it was a big deal since I only had three weeks of vacation a year. I took a bus all the way there, to the small village I would be staying in for a week, without a car or other transportation. I was dropped off in front of the only business in town, a general store that also served as a post office and café. I remember thinking I really am in the middle of nowhere, how exciting, how perfect for writing. It did seem perfect until that first morning, sitting in front of the laptop screen, mug of coffee at my side. Suddenly, I had a crisis of faith. Would I be able to pull it off? Could I spend an entire week writing, and in the middle of nowhere? I felt panicked and terrified.
That evening, I called Hal on the pay phone in the hallway and I told him how frightened I was, how I’d made a mistake coming there. This is too much pressure, I said to him, how could I do this to myself? I will never, ever, forget his response: “Just pretend you know what you’re doing, act as if you have faith in yourself and it will come.” He said just what Isaac Singer said.
And that is just what I did. I spent an entire week pretending I was a writer, acting as if I had belief in myself, acting as if I was unafraid. Eventually the acting rubbed off and I forgot I was pretending. I was writing, writing away in the green mountains of Vermont.