I am sitting here on a sunny Sunday afternoon, feeling like I want to write, wishing I could write, yet I am plagued by self-doubt.
It’s something us aspiring writers commonly experience.
Am I good enough? Am I wasting my time? What’s the point?
I know I want to go back and re-draft that short story. I know I want to start planning out another short story I had a great idea for. And I know I want to start a scrap book of ideas for my second novel idea.
But I’m not doing any of it. Why?
Instead I’ve settled for writing a blog article about how normal it is to experience self-doubt as a writer. Writing something is better than writing nothing at all, right?
It’s funny, because I know deep deep deep down, I am good enough. But it feels like there’s such a huge wall to climb and so much work to be put in, it can all feel a little bit overwhelming.
So, if you, like me, are having a day where you’re stuck knocking on the bottom of the wall, not sure how to climb up it, what should you do?
How can you fight self-doubt?
- Take a break
Do something that isn’t writing for a while. Staring anxiously at a blank screen and putting pressure on writing that killer opening isn’t going to help your creative juices flow. However, taking a walk, hanging out with friends or reading a book could spark fresh ideas and help you find a project you’re excited about.
- Seek feedback
Getting feedback from others about you’re writing can boost your confidence. Positive feedback is always nice to hear, but constructive criticism can be helpful too, especially when you start to notice clear improvements in your writing.
If you don’t fancy joining a writing group or giving your work to friends to read, you could try an online critique group like Scribophile.
- Tell people you’re a writer
Until about 18 months, I rarely told anybody I wanted to be a writer, or I enjoyed writing fiction, despite that fact I’ve been doing it since I was old enough to hold a pen. I was private and self-conscious about it.
However, now I talk to people about my writing. I tell my friends and colleagues about the books I am writing and what my dreams are. Nobody has sneered at me. Everyone has been encouraging. And the fact people know I want to be a writer, makes me more determined to do it.
- Mix up what you’re writing
If writing that novel feels too overwhelming today, why not write a short flash fiction piece. Or a blog article? Or a short poem?
- Don’t beat yourself up
If you don’t write anything all week, does it matter? We’re only human, and sometimes we need rest, time away from the screen and time to relax.
Are you an aspiring or established writer? Do you ever doubt your work? What tips do you have for fighting self-doubt?