In this video, I'm talking about self-doubt because we all suffer from it. Some days are worse than others, and I've been going through a bad patch recently, so I wanted to share from my heart today in the hope that it helps you too.
Watch the video below or here on YouTube.
How does self-doubt feel?
“My writing is terrible. I'm terrible. No one will ever want to read what I put out in the world. I'm going to get bad reviews. No one's ever going to buy my stuff. I'm wasting my time. What's the point?”
All these feelings – a sense of worthlessness, worry, even anxiety – it all comes together into fear of putting our words out there. And this self-doubt can sometimes cripple you.
I want to talk about it today because the truth is that we all suffer self-doubt. Here's a quote from poet Charles Bukowski:
Bad writers tend to have self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt.
Even famous writers suffer from self-doubt
One year, I went to ThrillerFest in New York, which is the conference run by International Thriller Writers. Some of the biggest names in the world speak there.
I went to one panel with authors like Lee Child, he writes the Jack Reacher books, and Sandra Brown, who's one of the biggest romantic suspense authors, Clive Cussler, who writes action/adventure. Huge names in the thriller industry.
R.L. Stine was there; he's one of the most famous children's writers, in fact, the most prolific children's author in the world. He writes the Goosebumps series. These authors have been writing books for years.
A writer in the audience stood up and said, “My manuscript is terrible. I feel like I just need to give up.”
And all of the writers on that panel went down the line, and they all said, “I still feel that way”.
Self-doubt is just part of the creative process
Now, whether that is encouraging or discouraging depends on your perspective. I was really encouraged because that means that self-doubt is just part of the creative process.
It doesn't go away. It sits there. It's part of the process. So we need to learn to live with that and go forward.
Finish your manuscript, publish your book, and get your words out into the world anyway.
Self-doubt is just part of the job of being a writer.
How things have moved on since my first novel
I was thinking back to when my first novel went out into the world in 2011. It was originally titled Pentecost and I later re-edited it and re-published it as Stone of Fire.
I recorded a video on how it felt to put your first book in the world. You can watch the video below or here on YouTube.
Things have definitely moved on in terms of how professional my videos are 🙂 but more importantly, I talk about how I canceled my launch drinks because I was so full of crippling self-doubt.
And yet, I did it again and again and again.
I still feel the self-doubt, but it's not crippling anymore, it's just something that I acknowledge. I let it sit with me, and put my work out anyway because there's a part of us inside, as writers, where if we don't write, we're going to cripple ourselves in other ways.
We're going to be unhappy. We're going to feel blocked.
You need to break through that self-doubt because your words are important.
We need to hear your voice. You don't know whose life you could change with your story, or your non-fiction book, or the words, the wisdom you have.
As an introvert, the thought of the videos I share going out into the world and people seeing them is difficult enough. But we embrace it anyway as part of the process.
And that's how we write, and create, put our words in the world, and change peoples' lives.
For more on this subject, check out The Successful Author Mindset. The first chapter is on self-doubt because it's such a common problem with authors. The book is available in e-book, print, and audiobook formats.