Everyone experiences self-doubt now and then. It’s part of being human, and writers are not exempt from this. In fact, I would go as far as to say that writers probably experience self-doubt more than other people. This is because we create things by transforming abstract ideas into concrete, readable words; and this makes us prone to criticism – whether constructive or not.
Self-doubt may kick in in different situations:
- you have a new client;
- your existing client has a different type of material he wants written;
- you’re working on a topic you haven’t worked on before;
- or you simply just feel that you may not be good enough.
Remember: self-doubt is normal BUT it doesn’t mean you have to let it take control and paralyze you.
When self-doubt kicks in, I’ve learned that there are certain things one can do and/or think in order to get back on track, and that’s what I want to share with you today.
Kicking self-doubt to outer space
Remember when you were a newbie writer, and look at where you are now.
Go back to the time when you were first sending out queries and application letters. You probably had your fair share of rejection letters, but you got a break at some point. How much work have you done since then? How many clients have told you they are happy with your work?
Look for those self-boosting moments in your writing career, dwell on them, and watch self-doubt fly away.
Write something for fun.
If self-doubt still hangs around even though you’ve thought back on your successes as a writer, why not stop focusing on your work for a while? Ask yourself, what do you like writing about – just for the fun of it?
Maybe you like writing short fairy tales. Or maybe you like writing poems.
Whatever makes you feel good, write it!
Don’t think about your clients. Don’t think about what your peers would say. Just write, and have fun. At the end of it all, you’ll feel so much better that self-doubt will have no choice but to go away.
Find someone who needs a mentor.
If you have been writing for some years (or even just months), and you experience self-doubt, then one way to deal with it is to find someone else who could use your help. Participate in forums for writers, Google Plus or Facebook Groups for writers, and similar venues. For sure, there will be at least one person who needs a mentor.
Offer your services, and share what you have learned. That writer will probably express his gratitude in a way that self-doubt gets a good kick up its bum.
Accept failure as part of life.
Acceptance is the first part of any recovery. If you doubt yourself because of a recent failure, accept that it is simply part of life. Lows will occur. You will let others down. You will fail.
What matters, though, is that you accept that these things happen. When you do, you will get up more easily – and faster – and ignore self-doubt more efficiently.
Have you been experiencing self-doubt lately? How did you deal (are dealing) with it? Let’s help each other out by sharing your experiences and advice in the comments!