For a short time you will have been pleased with your writing and quite possibly enjoying it. Cue your blog posts titled ‘I love my writing’, tweets #lovemywriting and photos all over Instagram of you typing away, surrounded by pretty flowers and bathed in heavenly golden light.
All good things in Writing Land must come to an end!
You read something you have written and a little voice deep inside you says “do you really think that is good writing?” and it quickly follows that up with “OMG, you have produced a pile of literary wrong!”
You place your head in your hands and groan. Anxiety starts to knot inside your gut and then slowly builds. You can kiss goodbye to doing any writing for the rest of the day.
Your brain starts to torture you by forcing you to read parts of your manuscript whilst the voice of doubt says ‘it’s not great is it?’ and ‘why are you even bothering with writing?!’
Nausea creeps in as you start to regret all the blog posts about how great your writing made you feel and those sugary sweet tweets.
You start to believe that you are the only writer taking time away from their manuscript to doubt their work / writing ability and purpose in life. Cue the look of suffering and wailing. Followed by the frantic emails to writer friends titled ‘My Personal Hell’.
So how do you conquer these horrid feelings of self-doubt?
Accept the fact that you are on a journey, one which will never end. Writing is a journey. You are continually evolving and changing as a writer.
The more you write, the more books you read and the more you study the craft of writing, the better your stuff will be.
This journey will last a lifetime and sadly there is not a final destination called, ‘No More Learning Because I Am Now A Great Writer.’
I have read interviews with the top novelists and they all say they are still learning.
In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter what you wrote today. The fact is you sat down and wrote.
Yes, your work may sound like a bowl of literary wrongs today, but that’s not to say in a few weeks you won’t return and really work at it until the damn thing sounds impressive.
Stories take months and sometimes years of revision to perfect. You are not going to turn up one day and write something Shakespeare would be proud of.
We all have bad days.
Sometimes it’s about simply laying the tracks down, because the future you will one day return to it, when your head is not full of negative crap, and polish it until it sparkles.
As long as you keep turning up and writing, your skill and flair will improve.
Self doubt is a sign you need a break from it. Go get some fresh air, have a dance in the kitchen and cuddle a pet!