When we talk on the phone she always asks me what I am working on and I ask the same of her.
For my birthday she sent me this gorgeous notepad/folder/clip-board with specific instructions: the notepad is for your rough drafts, the folder is for your finished drafts and the clipboard is for whatever you are working on. It made my writer's heart gush a tad.
We are alike in many ways. Maybe too much alike.
Here's what I mean...
My oldest niece, who is 10, had written a story, as well. It was quite good and we were all commending her. Well, apparently my 8 year old niece's ego got a little bruised and in came the self-doubt. She spent much of the evening laying on her bed, crying out, "I'll never be published!"
Boy, could I relate.
We all have it.
"I can't write." "No one will ever care about this story." "I'll never be published."
It can be crippling.
Or...it can be motivating.
5 Ways to Combat Self-Doubt
- Throw more balls into the air. You submitted to an agent who you have yet to hear from. Or, the agent gave a nibble, but now is silent. The waiting can be excruciating. You imagine the agent laughing at your work, embarrassed to contact because its that bad. Weird thoughts go through your head. Solution: submit to someone else. Instead of wallowing in self-doubt, submit to another agent. Up the odds for a response.
- Get nostaglic. So you feel like you have never written a word that was good in your whole writing career? Dig into your files and read something old. Something that you can't even remember writing. Whenever I do this I am shocked at how good it is...and then I start doubting that I even wrote it. :)
- Share your work with a friend. This is different from critique. This is someone who maybe doesn't even know good writing. But they are sure to tell you how good it is. Its best to start the conversation with something along the lines of, "I suck. I can't write." If they truly are a friend, they will say whatever is necessary to prove you wrong.
- Quit. For the day. Not for good. But sometimes its best to walk away. Pretend you are not a writer. Do non-writerly things. Play hooky. I promise you that everything will be waiting for you when you come back.
- Light a fire. Whenever I get burned out on running, I go to a race. Usually I get so inspired I want to run all the way home. Sometimes the best motivation is to be around others who are doing it. Hang with your writing pals. Go to a book event. Critique someone else's work.