I'm reading Andrew Motion's biography Keats (Faber & Faber 1997). What I find interesting is that even this well-known name suffered terribly from a lack of confidence in his own abilities. In a draft for a preface for one of his epic poems he writes: "So this Poem must rather be considered an endeavour than a thing accomplish'd; a poor prologue to what, if I live, I humbly hope to do."
A therapist colleague suggested that creativity and anxiety must always go hand in hand, since to be creative we must be open, and, therefore, vulnerable, to our own internal workings and to the external world. Keats was surely buffeted by doubt throughout his short life and his creativity was often stymied by it. Would he have preferred not to experience his misgivings, if it meant not having his poetry?
I sometimes ask myself the same question, when the clouds descend and I begin to question everything I am doing with my writing. I try to be more forgiving of this fragile side of me these days, see it as a part of me which requires gentle nurturing. Because yes, I do now recognise it as an essential part of my creativity.