A Writer’s Self-Doubt

As I have mentioned throughout my blog, I’ve been working on the same WIP since 2012. I’ve been through several stages of love and several stages of hate with it. I’ve gone through countless revisions, including numerous complete rewrites. I’ve taken breaks, some longer than others, from it, only to come back and find that it wasn’t as great as I thought it had been when I left it. Hi, my name is Lauren and I absolutely have self-doubt about my writing.

Recently I’ve picked it back up after probably a year of being away from it. I’ve been writing on and off since, but I always had it in the back of my mind. And this time is just like all of the others. The beginning sucks. Sentences suck. Everything feels like it sucks.

But today it hit me, that maybe, like lots of artists out there, it really doesn’t suck, I’m just being too self critical. Yeah, there are sentences that truly suck, like the one that starts with “After I showered” and never really said what my MC did after she showered. But to get bogged down thinking the entire thing sucks? That’s not helping anyone.

Today I am pledging to not be so negative about my writing. I’m not going to let myself be the one who says it’s not good enough. [I’m going to pause here for a moment to say that no, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have standards for myself. I’m obviously not going to start querying agents with a half-assed manuscript.] As long as I am happy with my novel, that’s going to be good enough for me.

So how do I plan on dealing with my self-doubt? I’m not really sure. Here are some things I thought of that I think might help. Honestly, it’s going to take some time.

  • Every time I think “man this just sucks” I’m going to take a break and come back to it. Pushing through the negativity doesn’t seem to really solve anything, but get me more frustrated.
  • I’m going to savor the good parts. Even when I have my most self-doubt, I still see parts of my novel that I like. So I’m going to start a list of everything that I am happy with to look at when the negativity creeps in.
  • Stop rewriting everything I may come across that seems not 100% perfect. Just because I don’t think it’s perfect doesn’t mean it bugs someone else.

While these aren’t super “actionable” or things I can check off a list, I think they are a good start. And if you have anyways you keep the negativity and self-doubt at bay, I’d love to hear about it!

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