Self-doubt runs amuck in all writers. We all have doubts. We all think our writing sucks and our book ideas are lame. That’s why we have to work on building writing confidence.
Many of us think our stories are unoriginal and have been done many times before. This derails our writing confidence and sends us in a fit of fear, panic, and sometimes we even stop writing altogether. Does all of this sound familiar? Then you’re definitely a writer.
The fact of the matter is that writing is very vulnerable. It’s very real. We’re basically releasing bits and pieces of us to the world to love or hate or judge. And that’s a terrifying thing. We’re justified in being doubtful about our work. But it’s also not really healthy to hate on something we work so damn hard to make beautiful.
That’s why I learned to stop doubting my book and be proud of it instead.
I used to have doubts about my book. Huge doubts. I thought it was a rip-off of another book even though I couldn’t even think of a book that came close. I thought my writing was boring and shitty and repetitive.
But what I needed was to take a breather and remember these things.
1. My writing is boring because I wrote it and read it all the time.
This has to be known as a writer. When you write something and then read it over and over again, it’s going to sound boring. It’s going to sound like you’ve read it somewhere else before because you have. In your head. Multiple times. Over and over again. So give yourself a break and wait to see what other people have to say about it.
2. All books seem like another one.
Because many great books have similar themes and concepts. They all have conflict and drama and then a resolution. The formula for books are all very similar with very few exceptions. There are tons of books with similar characters, too. How many books about witches and wizards are there? How many books are there about vampires? I mean, really. If you make your book unique and the plot different, your book isn’t the same.
3. Accept praise.
We tend not to believe it when someone compliments us. That’s not very good for our self-doubt as writers. But something we have to learn in order to get rid of that doubt (or at least diminish it) is to accept praise. Believe people when they say it’s good. Not many people are going to lie about that – especially if you ask them to be honest.
4. Comparing is pointless.
This is the biggest reason writers have self-doubt. We compare our shit to everyone. We sit there and read these elaborate books who were written by people with much more writing experience and we tell ourselves that we suck because we’re not that good. But we’re not going to be as good as someone who’s been doing it for 20 years. Our style is also much different than other writers and we can’t possibly accurately compare ourselves to someone else. So quit that shit.
5. Realize nobody is perfect.
You’re not Beyoncé. Therefore, you’re not perfect. Nobody is expecting you to write your first draft and have it coming out like a masterpiece. You’re going to have places that are worse than others and you’re going to get discouraged because of that. But that doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. That means you had a good day. And the good news? You can edit.
Having doubts as a writer is normal, but when it gets to a point where you don’t even want to write anymore even though you love it, then you have to do something. Remembering these things won’t get rid of that doubt for good, but it’ll help you get to a healthier level of it.