As writers, we tend to carry on a lot of conversations in our heads; ones with characters, and ones with ourselves about plot twists and ideas. There’s also that conversation we have every time we sit down at the keyboard, put pen to paper, or get ready to hit submit or publish. It’s the conversation with that little voice of doubt. The one that isn’t really that little, because it sounds so loud and over powering.
So how do you silence the voice that tells you to put off writing every time you sit down at your desk? The truth is that you won’t ever. Not really. It’s always there, but how loud it gets depends on you.
While it’d be easier to give into it and not write (and there will be times when you will because binge-watching Netflix is more fun), and there will be instances when you’ll fear writing—even when everything is going well (crazy, right?). There will even be those days when the ideas are flowing, you can clearly hear the prose in your head, or you had a great writing session the day before and can’t wait to get back into it. But that little voice will still show up at the start of those writing sessions. It will still call out and say, “No, not today. You’re just not good enough.”
That voice comes from doubt. It comes from fear. And the only sure fire way that I know of to turn it down, is to sit down and write (crazy again, but it’s the truth).
Over the years, a daily writing habit has helped me quiet the voice. I no longer let the doubt stop me from getting words down, or go days, weeks or months without working on my books in some capacity (although I have let doubt’s cousin, procrastination, rob me of hours in the day which could have been better spent).
I’ve learned that you need to drown out the noise of doubt with words. Write until your stilted sentences become magic, your terrible first draft turns into an epic final draft, until the stop/start turns into flow, and until your keyboard clicks are so loud that they are the only sound you hear. Because if you do that, before you know it, you’ll be in the writing zone, and in the writing zone, you’re going to be way too busy to listen to the lies that that silly little voice of doubt tells you.
— K.M. Allan