Writing Help

How to Handle Writer Self-doubt

I’ve never met a writer who didn’t have at least a little self-doubt. For me, it results in long agonizing writer’s block ended only when I finally force myself to write. Self-doubt kept me from finishing works and getting serious about my career. I’ll always be working on self-doubt, but I have found some ways to work through it and with it. Here are three things you can do to help get over your self-doubt and keep writing.

1) Realize it’s normal

If you’re an amateur writer you may be thinking it’s just you. It’s not, all writers whether published or not face self-doubt. “Will people like my writing?” “Do I suck?” etc. It’s a normal reaction. Our careers depend on people liking our work. We’re artists who paint with words. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and to accept it, even embrace it. Some people may think you suck and other may think you’re awesome. It’s all opinion. Don’t let bad reviews or rejection stop you. Work to get better. And if you’re still only on the first draft, that’s what editing is for.

2) We are all our own worst critics

A lot of writers are perfectionists. They pick away at their own work until they hate everything. I’m no different. I have found having others read my work and give me feedback helps point out the parts that are truly weak. The best people to do this are other writers. I’m part of two writers groups, one for teens and another for adults. Having input from other writers on your writing has helped me with my self-doubt and I’ve started sharing my writing more and more. For more on how my writing group has helped me check out my post How Writing Groups can Benefit Your Writing

3) Don’t let it stop you

I can sit at my computer for hours fretting over a chapter, blog post, or even one sentence. The best thing to do is move on or delete. If it’s my first draft I’ll move on and continue writing, I’ll come back to it when editing. If I am still agonizing over it when I’m editing there are two options, delete it (best for sentences and only if they’re not important) or walk away for an hour. I’ll make myself some tea and consider it. Then I choose if it’s good or not. It’s simple. Just don’t let it stop you from writing.

For me and most writers self-doubt stems from a fear of failure and rejection. As writers, we will face rejection and people who don’t like our writing. It’s a normal part of the writing process. But if you work through it and work to get better, you will find success. Don’t stop because others tell you to. Writer doubt can also be created from external pressures, people telling you that “writing’s not a real job” or “You’ll never get anywhere writing”. Prove them wrong. Keep going find supports in writing groups or friends. Anyone can write but few do because it’s hard. Self-doubt is a part of that. Dealing with it is what can make you a writer.

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