It’s very easy to sink into self-doubt on your writing journey, particularly after having a bad writing day or getting a rejection. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a writer, it’s that every other writer feels exactly the same way.
Knowing that you aren’t the only one who feels untalented and ready to give up at regular intervals goes a long way to pushing that self-doubt aside. There are days, however, when knowing you aren’t alone on this crazy journey just doesn’t cut it. On those days, try to remember these tips:
Look At How Far You’ve Come
There was a while there where I didn’t write anything. For about 6 years I put the brakes on my YA series and only ever thought about it. When I got the chance to get back into actually writing it, I formed a writing habit so that I could catch up on that lost time. Now, I write at a minimum of five days a week. This has allowed me to write four books in fours years, which is crazy considering all the years I didn’t even try to put pen to paper. When I look back on how far I’ve come in just a few short years, I realize what’s possible when I’m motivated and not giving into self-doubt.
There was something that started you writing. A great book, a good film, an inspiring quote, or just the unrelenting desire to create something, anything. Go back to what that was, watch it again, read it again, feel what you felt when that spark hit you, and burn away the self-doubt with fire. Look to your own work, the parts about it that you love, and use that as your reason to keep going.
Set A Limit
Just like the bad times put a pause on the good times, the bad times will eventually pass. It’s important to acknowledge the self-doubt and how it makes you feel, but don’t wallow in it for too long. Move on as quickly as you can, while learning from the lessons your self-doubt has brought. It’ll make it quicker and easier to move on the next time.
Look On The Bright Side
Even the worst in life teaches us a lesson. The trick is looking on the bright side.
If you’re doubting yourself because you got rejected, at least you sent something out! There’s plenty of writers who write but then don’t submit. Getting rejected isn’t great, but it’s better than never trying.
If you consider yourself a failure because you didn’t meet your word count, so what? Unless you wrote zero words, it’s still a win. You showed up and you put something on the page, and that’s all that matters. Even if what you wrote today was bad—and I mean really bad—who cares! You. Wrote. Something.
If the source of your self-doubt is the voice inside that says, “why would it be me?” Why the hell not? Writer’s write and put out stories. Some of those stories do really well, and there’s no reason to think that it couldn’t happen to you. The writers who’ve made it did so by doing what you’re doing right now. They wrote their story, pushed self-doubt aside, and got their book out into the world. Now it’s time for you to do the same.
– K.M. Allan