Breaking Free of Self-Doubt

Let’s face it, we all have those days when we feel down and something is just off. Sometimes it’s for no apparent reason, while other days it’s because nothing seems to be going your way- whether you got a bad review on your book, a fan posted a nasty comment, or your editor told you that you need to basically re-write your next novel. These days make us start to doubt our ability to succeed. We start to question our talent and wonder if we truly have what it takes to keep going. When you put your work out there to be criticized a lot of good things can happen, but a lot of bad things will probably happen too. We need to find ways to pick ourselves out of that self-doubt and move forward. Every hit of negative criticism makes you a stronger and better writer.

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Today, author Holly Robinson shared four ways that she conquers her self-doubt in a post on The Huffington Post book blog. I thought they were pretty awesome ideas and that many of us could benefit from them- not just in our own writing worlds, but in our every day lives as well.

1. “Work With Your Hands”

Build/do something with you hands- bake something, do an arts project, conquer a landscaping project. Seeing the physical result of your efforts will help you gain some of your confidence back.

2. “Forget About Success”

Stop worrying about what other people think and remember that the main person you create your work for is you. Don’t be afraid to fail. As long as you are happy with the work that you produce, you are already winning.

3. “Stay Flexible”

Try new things- even if it’s just for a few hours. Try writing a different type of genre than usual. Craft up a totally different character than ever before. Create a world that seems completely bizarre to you. It will give you a break from your typical writing and you never know, it might lead you somewhere other than the trash bin.

4. “Keep Your Projects Warm”

Never stop working completely. If you aren’t up for a whole day of writing then just reread a few chapters, edit a few lines, or make outlines for future chapters. The second you stop working, you are letting your self-doubt win.

The only person that can make you succeed or fail is yourself. We all have days of self-doubt, but it’s how we break free that matters. Write On.

Remember Why You Write

Starting your writing career is hard. You are always kept wondering if you are ever going to be good enough, when that first big deal will come, and if writing will ever be something you will be able to do full time. But the truth is, writing is hard and it seldom gets easier. Every stage of your career has new and different challenges to overcome. Just when you think you are comfortable, another road block emerges. Successful author, Holly Robinson, talks about this phenomenon in a recent article on The Huffington Post book blog entitled, “Why It’s Harder To Write The Next Book Than Your Last– And How To Keep Writing Anyway.”

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Robinson explains that with each book she writes it actually gets harder. She is always worrying about disappointing her fan base, her next advance, and what publicity she will be able to land. Despite all her success, she still worries if she is going to continue to make it in the publishing world.

We all can’t relate to Robinson’s challenges at this point in her career, but what we can relate to is why she keeps writing. Robinson makes a realization that I think all writers and authors need to make at some point in their career to be successful, “I write because writing is the thing I love to do.” We can’t succeed in a writing career without first realizing why we write. When you put your own work on the line for the whole world to either criticize or love, the reason you started this all in the first place needs to be ingrained into your soul. You started to write because you love it, because it keeps you sane, because you can take any figment of your imagination and turn it into reality. You started this journey for you and if anyone else happens to join you for the ride than you are one step further than you ever imagined you would be.

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Robinson ends her article with a wonderful summation of how writers, new and experienced, need to remember always to write, “”Write your story for yourself alone; pour your heart out on the page.” Write on.