Monday, April 8, 2013

6 Steps to Destroying a Writer's Self-Doubt

Nearly two years ago, upon the suggestion of a managing editor's rejection letter of my a non-fiction manuscript, I decided to write a fiction novel. 

I started in with confidence that matched my excitement. Sure, why not write a novel? I can do that!

Then I started writing.

And I started reading other's novels more.

And I the doubts started to creep in.

And I wrote less.

And I doubted more.

And wrote even less, 

until I stopped writing,

and only doubted.

It was a miserable time. I so wanted to write. I had a great idea--or at least had a great idea, until I looked at my idea through the lenses of doubt.  

Why did I think I could write? Why did I think I could write? Was I arrogant to think I had something to share? And if I did, there was no way I had the talent to write what I felt in my heart, and saw in my mind.

It was stifling.

Then my husband helped me realize that ONLY thing stopping me from writing my book was ME, and that I needed to ignore the doubts, lean on his faith in me, and write.

And I did.

And when the shadows of doubt came (and they did, many times) I shut them down with my fingers on the keyboard--and wrote.  
And as I did this, the ideas came, the creativity came, and my confidence came.
And I finished my novel.

Self-doubt is a writer's worst enemy. Here are a few steps I used to keep the doubts at bay:
  1. I stopped comparing my writing to others.
  2. I prayed before I wrote--every time--and trust that the One who gave me this gift would enhance it.
  3. I educated myself in technique and skill.
  4. I loved my story, and didn't let the imperfections get in the way of that. 
  5. I had a solid group of critiquers, both readers and authors, whom I trusted and knew would help me make it better.
  6. I wrote for me.  When I let go of the pressure of writing someone everyone would love, or deem a literary masterpiece, and just wrote what I loved in the best way possible, the joy came and the doubts left.

I finished my book. It's not a literary masterpiece, but it is mine, and I love it.

So, when the self-doubts hit you, in writing, or in any other aspect of your life, kick those life-sucking doubts to the curb and keep living--and writing. 

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