Silencing Self-Doubt During the Creation Process
Thank you, Lynn, for letting me do a guest post on your blog today! This post is geared toward writers, but it can also be applied to any creative field (musicians, artists, actors, etc.). It’s all about how to get rid of that nagging self-doubt that creators often experience.
Whether you’re a brand new writer or a multi-published author, it’s likely you’ve had to endure moments of self-doubt. It’s totally normal to feel it from time to time, but when it becomes constant, or it interferes with the creation process, then it’s time to fight it head-on!
Starting out, it’s common to worry about being an amateur. You might think, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” When that happens, remind yourself that every great artist started out at the beginning. One doesn’t become a master immediately. It takes time. The more you write (and read!), the more you learn about how to do it well. Keep at it, and be patient with the process. You’ll get there.
Another thought that gets in the way of being creative is, “This story is not good enough.” This one is brought about by either comparing yourself to other people or taking stock way too soon in the writing process. Make it a habit to stop comparing yourself to other people. It’s a huge trap a lot of us fall into, but it does more damage than good. As a writer, you are competing with yourself. End of story. And let’s be honest here: it’s really rare that your first draft is the best the story can be. As you write, if you feel like it’s a hot mess, remind yourself that you will polish it and make it great during the editing process. That way, you’ll un-block yourself so that you can finish that draft.
This one is usually a problem for published authors, but it can hit anytime. It’s the damaging thought, “What if this doesn’t sell?” This one’s tricky. On one hand, you don’t want to write just to sell because readers will be able to pick up on your inauthenticity. On the other hand, you probably don’t want to write something so incredibly off the wall that nobody can comprehend it. This is where you have to use a mixture of going with your intuition and also getting the advice of some trusted readers. Sometimes the story you want to write may not sell today, but it may be a hot topic tomorrow. Also, remind yourself that you were inspired to write the story in the first place. You were excited about the idea before you started worrying about money. Remind yourself that it is fun to write! If you make whether it sells or not “no big deal,” that takes a weight off your shoulders, and it frees up the channels of inspiration.
Finally, we come to the troublesome thought, “It’s been done before.” You know what? You’re probably right! Most stories typically fall into the same 12 or so plots. Romance has a number of “tropes” that authors use over and over as tried-and-true formulas. The thing is, no two authors will tell the same story in exactly the same way, so even if you’re writing a formulaic genre like romance, you are putting your own personal spin on it. You are a unique person, and the story you write will also be unique in its own way.
Nobody is immune to self-doubt during the creation process, but self-doubt can be beaten! Be proud of yourself that you’re willing to go on the journey of being a writer. And be patient with yourself when self-doubt gets to you. The important thing is not to let it defeat you. You can rise above it. I believe in you!
I want to thank Scarlett for being my guest. Be sure to stop by next week when I’ll be presenting something new.