#021 - Conquering self doubt … the writer’s disease!
As the tools that stimulate our imagination, help us write the words and then publish them to the world become easier to find and even easier to work with ... all without leaving the close confines of a bedroom, then, for the beleaguered writer there is not much else that can go wrong ... is there? Of course there is and it's something rarely tackled in all the on-line 'Become a Famous Writer in 60 Days' courses available to the ambitious student with a few hundred dollars to throw in the path of these 'Guru' institutions. The start of it all is of course when you have lost the convincing ambition that first drove you to put pen to paper in the first place and it's called 'Self Doubt'. Self Doubt comes from becoming lost in the process, not being organized and generally being harassed by those around you who are not fully 'on board' with your particular writing ambitions. Read on!
There are many writers, or would be writers out there who are so taken up with their own abilities and therefore fantastic potential, they regularly fail to live up to such expectations. So, in effect, you end up being disappointed with yourself when you see the words staring back at you from the printed page. At this point you should not 'Give Up' ... you should 'Buck Up'... but how should you 'Buck Up?'
Firstly, it's worth remembering no one has time to listen to your problems and those around you will have no inkling you may have caught the self doubt virus. Some good advice would be not to go round moaning and groaning to everyone you meet. They are simply not interested in the fact you will shoot to the top of the best sellers list 'if' you could only solve this one small plot or character issue.
You may need to take on board that you are probably not the centre of anyone's universe except your own. Unless you are famous and your name trips easily from everyone's lips in general conversation, then ... to be frank with you, no one really gives a damn!
You may of course consider yourself, with the growing confidence of ambition, to be the best writer in the world but no one else will think so until you are made rich and famous due to the 'loads of money' earned through your published work. When you reach that point, rest assured, you will be the centre of attention for millions, all in company with the Tax man.
Review your previous work constructively. Tell yourself the truth! Is it good ... or not? If you are serious about writing, you will know. The act of ripping out text is therapeutic, simply because you know the end result will be a positive one.
When you are plagued with self doubt, it's a good idea, when in the company of others, to not make yourself a pain in the backside by constantly going on about your 'new novel' and your 'next new book'. No one wants to know. Take note of the wise words above. Instead of talking endlessly about yourself and your writing when in company, take time out to 'listen' to others around you putting you in the comfortable position of having your next great character created for you and gathering much needed material for your next epic novel. We can tell you from experience that being asked 'what you do?' ... and replying 'I'm a writer!' ... does not float many boats. In fact when you tell them that's what you do, they mostly carry on a conversation, ignoring you, or issue the obligatory ... 'That's nice' ... and then move quietly away. Being a writer is a lonely, highly disciplined business and your best friend and most honest critic has to be you!
Thinking of giving up?
Is 'giving up' the easy route? Well, not really. Even the process of 'giving up' will have its consequences. If you lean toward a tendency to give up when things get a bit tough, then you will never become a recognized fiction author. Simply giving up is not in the DNA of the established writer, and if you wish to get to such a position, then there is no room for negative attitude.
A helping hand.
With or without the mental strength to plow through obstacles to reach your final goal, there is no doubt whatsoever, if you have a mentor to turn to, especially in difficult times, you will stand a much better chance of succeeding and actually finishing your manuscript. If you do not have someone you know who is already an established writer, search the social media and see if you can find a person in your local area already producing work on a regular basis.
Another way of course is to put out a request on Face-Book or Twitter for a mentor. (A dangerous but possible option) Other writers may be happy to mentor you ... or they may not, but from our best knowledge, we have found that many will be happy to pass on their experiences and review your work ... as long as you do not become a pest! Don't forget your local writing circle or club. Whatever you do, make contact with them. You may find just what you're looking for.