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).