I’ve decided to participate in the writing contest: Writers Crushing Doubt; hosted by Positive Writer! If you’d like to read more about the contest, click here.
The contest asks that we write about an instance in our lives when we’ve experienced a case of writer’s doubt and how we were able to overcome it, and write anyway.
I’ll begin by admitting I’m currently struggling with a significant amount of writer’s doubt in my life…even after I’ve managed to write an entire book; I’m still feeling it! My writer’s doubt is ongoing and, at times, all-consuming.
It is like a well-thrown boomerang that keeps coming back!
Yep, even while writing this post, I’m wondering in the back of my mind if it’s going to be “good enough”.
Currently, I’m in the final stages of self-publishing my memoir entitled, Now I’m Here: The Essential Guide to Navigating Life After Loss. As the title suggests, my book is for those who have experienced a painful loss in their life.
Mine occurred two years ago when my Mom passed away from cancer. By telling my personal story of loss, I hope to help readers cope with their grief and regain their purpose for going forward in life, despite their loss.
As you can imagine, this book was very emotionally draining to write, but I kept my vow to finish it and my reason for writing it in the forefront of my mind. It took about two months to complete my rough draft, once I committed to writing it.
During that time, my Dad was hospitalized for Pneumonia and I got Bronchitis. 😦 The voice of doubt said I couldn’t do it, that all this sickness was put in place to stop me from writing my book.
Once complete, I printed it out, handed the large stack of papers to my boyfriend, and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me I’d lost my damn mind?” I couldn’t believe I really did it!
Obviously, my mind is still intact. The only difference? While writing, I ignored the voice of doubt telling me I couldn’t do it. I finally held myself accountable for writing a novel…a goal I’ve had since I was a kid. I believed I had as fair a chance as anyone to be a writer.
I knew this was what it would take to have the opportunity to succeed.
Unfortunately, I’m blocked again. I’m listening to the doubt again and I feel backed into a corner. I can’t seem to put the finishing touches on the book and hit the publish button! 😮
If this sounds familiar, you get the picture. Writer’s doubt makes you feel very vulnerable. You don’t know if you could stomach the possibility of being hit with negative reviews, so you say there’s not enough time in the day to write, you lack the creativity for new ideas, or you aren’t knowledgeable enough about a subject to write about it.
I feel your pain.
It can be paralyzing.
At times, soul-crushing.
It can make you want to trash a year’s worth of writing!
…but writer’s doubt only has the power to do this if YOU let it.
I’m sad to think a temporary state such as writer’s doubt is holding back others like myself, who have extraordinary stories to share with the world! There has never been a writer who has had the luxury to avoid writer’s doubt.
The more you let that fear constrict your writing, perhaps even changing what you set out to say, the more power you’re handing to this beast.
I challenge you to stop feeding the so-called monster by not letting the doubt manipulate the actions you take. Each time you hold back from sharing your work, writer’s doubt scores another point over you. It is time to beat writer’s doubt at its own game.
Knowing this problem is beyond me, I choose to fess up to my own writer’s doubt and do something about it right here, right now. I know I don’t want to stay stuck “here” in doubt any longer. I want to be happy, successful and published.
Are you with me? 😀
It’s rough, but you’re stronger than the doubt. You can handle failure if it arises. Besides that, you can’t avoid it.
You can thank your brain for throwing on the brakes and making you second guess your writing. After all, it’s the brain’s job to sense danger and warn you that it may not be safe to proceed. It wants you to survive. It is a natural instinct, but we aren’t being hunted here. There is no need to feel impending danger!
What’s more, you can decide you’re not going to let those anxiety-filled moments hold you back from doing what you love.
I know it’s hard to face the resistance, but your writing is not a threat to you. It is a part of who you are as a writer.
For this reason, I’m taking another step forward in my commitment by making a public declaration that I’m 100% committed to publishing my novel. Before, I had only set the goal to write it. Now, I must adjust my target, commit, and make it happen.
I’m going to stand up to the fear because it will subside; regrets often do not. I’ve experienced much loss in my life. I don’t want my passion to be another loss.
If you want to discover your true calling, and you think that may be becoming a writer, you have to commit to following through and fighting against the discomfort.
It is time writers everywhere accept that many people experience this same feeling, so there is no need to internalize it and make it your “problem,” when it’s every writer’s “problem”. 🙂
You are going to keep writing, even if all you can write about is the fear of your writing not being good enough.
Because it is.
Because you are.
Because I am, too.