Battling Self-doubt in Your Writing
The Short Answer
Every author, artist, musician etc struggles with self doubt and making the progress they want. Something about putting your soul, beliefs, and emotions into art that is shown to other human beings is nervewracking.
But most of the self doubt we feel as creators... isn't valid.
As creators, we feel everything deeply and we want others to feel the same way we do about our craft. However the doubt we feel over our worth is only something we do to protect ourselves from rejection, not because we are actually bad at what we do.
But let's talk about minimizing that doubt and how to make progress in light of it...
1. Understand It's Source
In order to minimize doubt, we need to understand its origins. Ask yourself questions like: "who supports me in my writing?" "Who doesnt?" "Who am I most comfortable sharing my work with?" "Who am I most scared to share my work with?" "What good/bad experiences have I had in response to my work?"
Sometimes when we start isolating incidents surrounding our work, we can begin to understand where our doubt has seeded and grown. And most often, we can realize that the words of others have no real bearing on our creative worth.
2. Search Internally
If you're like me, you may come to realize some of your doubt comes from external sources like toxic friends (or someone else in your sphere of influence) but also like me, you may realize that their words were actually reinforcing negative paths in your subconciousnes.
Have you ever randomly come up with an awesome idea in the shower? Or maybe in the middle of the night? That's your subconscious working for you. Sometimes it's helpful, but sometimes it's not.
Understanding your natural negative tendencies like imposter syndrome, perfectionism, self depreciation etc can help you take steps toward silencing the not so nice voices in your head.
3. Align Your Subconciousnes
After you've assessed your natural negative tendencies, you can begin to release your negative emotions and replace them with positivity.
Practise mindful meditations that involve positive thinking or dwelling on things that are uplifting, encouraging, and good.
Repeat truths to yourself like "I am worthy to be a creator." "No one else determines my creative worth." "I am a good artist/musiscian/writer." "I am not selfish for thinking these things, or for lifting myself up." "I can make progress in my craft, and I will."
These thoughts will empower your subconciousnes to feed you good thoughts and motivation that battles the doubt. Say these things to yourself every time you doubt yourself or before you sit down to create.
4. Respect Yourself
While you're realigning your subconciousnes (which takes time, patience, and compassion to yourself), begin to respect yourself the way you want others to respect you.
Does it bother you when someone interrupts you while you work? You should feel the same way about interrupting yourself. Do you hate it when other people diminish the amount of work you're accomplishing? Then don't diminish yourself.
Make small, consistent manageable goals that INCLUDE resting and having fun like working on side projects.
Don't work on something you don't believe in or enjoy. Even if you've spent years on a project, if it's dragging you down, you're not making the progress you want, or you just can't seem to make it work, respect your time and energy enough to move on. If it's important, you can always come back. If it's not, you'll never regret letting go.
Writing/creating is different than things like math/logic right? Wrong.
Creation and logic are both brain functions. They both require the use of a physical muscle in your body. Your productivity, creative worth, and your creative quality is not dependent on born skill, a talent fairy, or random chance.
You can practise your creative craft and you can improve. It is as assured as practicing math, science, or anything else that requires the opposite brain function of logic.
Write a little every moment you can. Write poetry, short stories, journal entries, blog posts you'll never post. Write in a different pov than you're used to. Write a different genre. Try something new and watch how you'll grow and change. You might even find something that works better foe you than what you were doing.
Eventually your confidence will grow as your skill set increases. Don't treat your creativity as random chance.
Hone it and own it.
Moral of the Story
The moral of the story is, most of the doubt we experience in creating (which can cause a lack of progress) is not rooted in facts. It is something we use to protect ourselves from creating and sharing and the POSSIBILITY of failure and rejection. After all, you can't fail if you never start. But neither can you succeed.
If you are a creator of some sort and have a passion, resign yourself to knowing that. Resign yourself to the idea that as long as you are doing what you love, you cannot fail, and every small amount of progress is precious. No one else can change that.
Start validating yourself and your journey. Empower your subconciousnes to work with you instead of against you.
Your art can only be made by you. You can change the world, and the best place to start that, is with yourself.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope this helps you in you writing journey and even in all aspects of your life.
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May the suns smile upon your presence
-Effie Joe Stock