Self-Doubt Can Get A Bit Too Much

I’m writing this as I find myself in a very deep and dark place of self-doubt. Writing is something I never originally thought I’d find myself hating or making me cry. But it is. And I’m sure all writers and authors have been through these phases where all you can do is cry and think about how much of a terrible writer you are.

Sometimes self doubt can get a bit too much. It can feel like this huge heavy weight on your shoulders that just constantly drags you down and doesn’t ever seem to let go. It can feel like a plastic bag that has been shoved over your head, suffocating and confining.

I thought I’d be honest about my thoughts of self-doubt and the thoughts that have been running through my mind all night. Or if I’m being completely honest, running through my mind for the past couple of months while I haven’t been progressing any further with my book.

At the moment, I’m feeling lost. I’m struggling to focus. Every day and every night, I sit down to write. But all I get is a sentence, maybe a paragraph if I’m lucky. Nothing else seems to flow out of me and I’m left either staring at the screen or just giving up and distracting myself with Facebook or Youtube. I can never seem to get into that writing zone, wherever that is. Even music doesn’t help. Maybe I need to find a different surrounding, change music, something to get into that zone.

Self-doubt also makes me stress. It makes me wonder, is it me or is it what I’m writing? It makes me question. It makes me question whether to continue my work in progress, question what I need to do to pull myself out of it, even though I know I will never be free of it. It’s a never ending issue, a constant weight. And it makes me question whether I’m good enough to be a writer, to make it as an author, to have people reading my books, other than myself, and reviewing it.

There’s also the terrifying thought of failure. I know I can’t give into the self-doubt and the thoughts that I’m not good enough because I know there is nothing else out there for me to do. Writing is it. I need writing like I need a heart or lungs. Writing has been what defines me as who I am. My friends all know me as the person who writes, who wants to be an author. And that’s how I see myself too. So the possibility of failure is completely out of the picture but still the thought haunts me. Still, the self-doubt creeps over me like a blanket, ready to smother me.

And the frustrating part is that I know I can be a good writer. I’ve written paragraphs of my book which I have really loved and I’ve had people tell me they’re good. But in my head, I can’t seem to accept that it’s enough because I know those are only small paragraphs out of a work in progress manuscript of 25,000 words. I keep thinking that there is always *something* that needs improving and that is a dangerous thought because that’s a thought that never leaves.

I know that the first step of overcoming self-doubt is seeing yourself as a good writer. But I think that’s the hardest advice someone can give you. It’s one thing for someone to tell you your work is good, but it’s another thing for you to see that too.

I wrote this post because I wanted others – writers, authors, bloggers, or really whoever suffers from self-doubt – to know they’re not alone. There is a *lot* of people going through this too (and yes, I know that doesn’t help overcome it but it’s nice to know that there are people out there who are like you and who are ready to support you because they understand).

So why don’t you share your thoughts or your experiences below? Be honest. Don’t hold back. It really does help to put your thoughts down and maybe even have a bit of a cry. Although, warning, once you start crying, it can be hard to stop.

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8 thoughts on “Self-Doubt Can Get A Bit Too Much

  1. Posts like this are immensely powerful. There’s not enough people out there talking honestly about self-doubt and the really crippling effects it can bring – much like depression, it’s a topic nobody wants to talk about until it’s, as they say, uncomfortably loud and incredibly close.

    Self-doubt plagues me as much as anybody else. Everything you said is something I’ve felt before, and I’m sure every writer has felt before too – it’s not something you ever cure, but merely postpone, minimize. Recognizing your own value is the first step on the road – acknowledging that you *are* capable; the second step of banishing that self-doubt entirely is the hardest, and perhaps, not entirely achievable for any creative.

    Posts like this help a lot. Nobody is ever alone in feeling a certain way, and that knowledge alone is enough to take a tiny sliver of the darkness away.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all.

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  2. Oh I know this feeling all too well – am about to enter Self-Doubt Street and Anxiety Avenue with the near wrap-up of my new album. And I know you know this feeling intimately 😉 Self doubt goes hand in hand with everything, and yet it’s what makes us better creatives. We are driven so low by our *perceived* failings that we deny ourselves the broader vision of what we are capable of. Can’t see the forest for the trees type of thing. Focusing on something completely different like a puzzle or walking your dog can help. You need fresh eyes and a fresh mind (not brain!). Or a fresh perspective? Ask your editor/mentor for advice. And sometimes – a bloody good cry with chocolate and wine can be the best therapy! As always, you’ve got this, Maddie x

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    • Think of the Japanese flag, right? 😉 Keep your mind clear from your brain’s doubts? Thanks for helping, Sarah 🙂 Really appreciated it. Writing is going a little bit smoother today.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. I will definitely go check it out! I’m determined to keep writing more of these I think. They’re a good way to let out some built up emotions and lets other people know they’re not alone in this. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, Maddie! I’ve only recently gotten back into writing seriously after a long (grad-school-induced) break, and with it have come all the doubts and insecurities I have about basically every aspect of my life. I certainly don’t want other people to be feeling the same thing, but it’s always a relief knowing that I’m not the only one struggling, and that other people are willing to be open about their troubles.

    I have two thoughts/possibly unhelpful or unwanted pieces of advice, with the caveat that I’m a total hypocrite who never follows her own advice. 😉

    The first is, I wonder if it would help to give yourself permission to fail. Not give-up-on-your-dream-entirely fail, but this-isn’t-working fail. Maybe this isn’t the story you should be writing right now. Maybe it just needs serious changes. Maybe your writing routine, whatever it is, isn’t working for you any more and should be discarded and replaced. Mostly it’s just a ‘lost the battle but can still win the war’ mentality–even failure in the moment can be a learning experience that helps us grow.

    Related to that, I think the first step to overcoming self-doubt might not be seeing yourself as a good writer, but believing that you can make your writing good given time and effort. It’s not all going to come out great at first. If we judged ourselves as writers based on our first drafts and the ease with which we produced them, I suspect no one would be left standing.

    Hope I don’t sound preachy–this is stuff I needed to write as much for myself as anyone else. Impostor syndrome, whoo!

    Hang in there! *Hugs and chocolate*

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    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! Completely agree, some re-evaluating might be in order I think. It’s just a scary thought to just replace or discard something you initially put so much work into.

      You definitely do not sound preachy! This was what I was hoping would come of this post, that people would share their thoughts and their thoughts would help others. So thank you for contributing!

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