All Writers Doubt Themselves – How YOU Can Overcome Doubt
I’m pleased to announce that my new book Writer’s Doubt is now available on Amazon in Kindle format!
Whewwww! That was a long needed sigh of relief and of accomplishment. Writer’s Doubt has been in the works for almost 4 years and I’m delighted to have it finished, but in some ways it’s also a feeling of loss because I no longer get to open the latest draft and continue working on it. It’s finished. It’s not just mine anymore, now it’s yours, too.
There were times when I thought I’d never finish it, much less publish it. I did both. I overcame doubt, and so can you!
Doubt is a natural part of all of us and no one can ever completely escape it.
The first lesson in overcoming doubt is knowing that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling doubtful, it’s normal.
You’re human, therefore you doubt.
The problem is when doubt overwhelms us and keeps us from creating the work we are meant to create.
Doubt has stopped too many people from living their dreams.
Unhindered, doubt won’t allow you to say what you mean to say. You’ve written great work, but if it doesn’t matter to you as much as it would have if you had said what you wanted to say, then you’re a victim of Writer’s Doubt.
We’ve all been there.
Doubt is insidious in that it can make us stall and give up, or worse, hold us back from being true to ourselves and our writing.
You can overcome doubt!
We must all wage an intense, lifelong battle against the constant downward pull. If we relax, the bugs and the weeds of negativity will move into the garden and take away everything of value.
Yes, you can and will overcome doubt, but allow me to insert a word of caution: absolutely defeating doubt is not possible and should never become your goal.
Doubt will always be a part of your writing and creative life. However, with that said, it doesn’t need to cause you to give up or withhold your best art.
Doubt not only holds us back, but it also makes us do unhelpful things:
Doubt holds us back from taking risks that need to be taken.
Doubt holds us back from thinking we’re good enough.
Doubt holds us back from reaching our true potential.
Doubt holds us back from finding our voice.
Doubt makes us uncertain if we should be writing at all. After all, the dinosaurs probably preferred extinction because they knew you’d try to become a writer.
Doubt makes us seek approval (again and again and again).
Doubt makes us wait for someone to pick us.
Doubt makes us reach for milestone after milestone, ceaselessly stalling until the next one, which will always be too little too late.
You know these are true, because you know your best work is still to come.
I didn’t write my first book until I was 37 years old, but I had started writing stories long ago when I was just a young boy.
The reality is I had to take a remedial reading and writing class in grade school because I had difficulty learning. Later, in college a professor claimed I would never be a writer and she said this boldly in front of the entire class. I got up, left her class in embarrassment and shame, and never returned.
At one point, I gave up writing for over a decade.
Doubt had won, and thanks to that professor who called me out, I had it on authority that I wasn’t good enough to be a writer.
I started writing again in a personal journal only for myself many years after that dreadful experience in college. I had an overwhelming need to write about my childhood and I told my story in my journal, which eventually became my first book, my memoir.
I eventually published “One Boy’s Struggle” in 2007 and it has since become considered one of the most important memoirs written about a child growing up with the type of inexplicable behaviors I displayed.
However, before that an editor had told me One Boy’s Struggle would never be published the way it was written.
I mean, really, how much help did my doubt need? How many experts were going to tell me I could not do what I longed to do?
So I hired an editor to refine my memoir as suggested, but when I got it back I was appalled at how ‘perfect’ it seemed to me. It read more like so many other novels I had read before. It wasn’t a novel, it was my story, my life, and my life was far from perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
I don’t write like that – that’s not me.
Call it pride, call it ignorance, call it what you want, but I decided to publish the raw, original version from my journal with only minor editing to make it presentable in book format.
That version of One Boy’s Struggle which “should never have been published” has gone on to garner praise from the foremost experts in the field, has over 50 – 5 star reviews on Amazon, and in 2011 the publishing company that publish it announced I had become one of their top 3 bestselling authors out of the 4000+ authors published by them at the time.
I’ll never become a writer? I can’t publish my memoir? Well…
I am a writer and I did publish my memoir!
I’ve been told so many times in my life that I can’t do this or that, and I was even removed from school during the middle of tenth grade because I had failed to pass a single class that year. (Okay, honestly, how I made it to tenth grade is beyond me, but that’s another story.)
I’m not going to be the next King or Salinger and I’m never going to write like Hemingway (why would I want to?). But I’ll tell you what I can do, what I have done, and what I will continue to do:
Write work that matters and ship. (Tweet This)
But think about it, considering what I’ve revealed in this post (and much more that I reveal in Writer’s Doubt), who am I to write and publish a book about writing? I mean, really. Who do I think I am?
Those are the type of questions doubt makes us ask of ourselves. Such questions can stop us cold and make us give up on our dreams.
But I’ll answer, because I now know them for what they are:
I’m someone who works hard to overcome doubt every day and create work that matters to me, and hopefully you, and I ship. I’ve done it time and time again when by all rights I should have given in and given up for good long ago.
How do I overcome doubt? How do I create work that matters despite the odds? How do I manage to write every day and ship anyway?
Would the answers to those questions be valuable information to you? Let me know in the comments.
Download your copy of Writer’s Doubt from Amazon and join me in the trenches, working hard at it every day with strategies that make it not only possible to overcome doubt, but create work that truly matters!
Write, because that’s what writers do…