Self-Doubt Got You Down? Here's A Helpful Little Tip for Writers
Oh, self-doubt, how I loathe you.
Do you struggle with self-doubt? Do you worry that people won't like what you write? That people will think your story is stupid, low-grade, or juvenile? Do you worry that the plot or the characters need more work? Do you sit down to write and then have a voice inside your head that tells you it's not worth the bother?
Self-doubt is common in any profession, and it runs rampant in the writing field. So many writers have set aside their writing because they didn't think it was good enough to keep working at it. I've been there. I have incomplete novels that need so much work that I think they're unsalvageable without some major plot fixes and a full rewrite.
It's ok to doubt your work because that helps you make it better. But you have to be willing to trust that you are fully capable of improving your work. If you don't believe you can ever improve your writing, you'll end up holding yourself back.
At some point, if writers want to see publication, they need to work on taking themselves seriously a little less. Why less and not more? Because less helps us be willing to fail. We need to be willing to do our best and then throw our work out there without any thought as to the outcome. It's ok to have your heart set on publishing your novel, but you can't let it prevent you from even trying.
Improving our writing skills is a never-ending process. We don't get to a certain point and say, "well, I've learned everything I possibly can about writing." It doesn't work that way. There is always something that can be improved. As we write and as we publish our work, our writing skills will improve. We'll learn more and more each time.
I've held myself back because I got caught up in wanting my first published novel to be perfect. It had to be an acceptable genre, one that I'd want to be recognized for, and the plot had to be perfect and everything had to make sense. This year, I decided my first published novel will not be perfect. It will still be in an acceptable genre, but I'll do my best and then I'll get it out to the world.
Authors have to start somewhere; it's not going to be at the top of the skill set. Knowing what a novel needs in order for it to be improved is entirely different from being able to physically improve the writing. It takes lots of practice and being willing to recognize whether or not the manuscript aligns with your current skill level. The important thing to remember is to do your best work.