Kicking Self Doubt in the Shins

Today I experienced my first real feeling of self doubt regarding my writing. Sure, I’ve felt it before. Felt as though I’m not good enough to do this, but still I plowed on because I can always fix it later, right? But today I read an amazing post at Fantasy Faction giving the advice: “show don’t tell” (read it if you’re getting into writing). It gave some fantastic writing tips and feeling spurred on I loaded up my epic fantasy in Scrivener, went back to the first line and how I could possibly change it to make it flow a lot better using this “show don’t tell” rule and whichever way I look at it, I just draw a blank. Self doubt. I’m not good enough to be a writer.

But never fear, I’m not giving up in the face of self doubt. Writing is my dream and I have too many stories to tell. I need to write them. I need them to be read. Even if only a handful of people read and enjoy them, I’ll have completed my life’s dream.

I’ve just got to take a new approach. See, all along I’ve been blogging to keep myself writing but I’ve come to realise how very different fiction writing and blog writing really is. When I blog, I talk to my readers as though I’m sending an email. Right now, this here, this is me emailing all of you who actually read this blog. Cool huh? But when I write… basically I just haven’t got the hang of it yet. I just try to write down my story even if I struggle with wording because I want to see it whole and complete and figure the rewrites will fix it.

So my new approach? I’m putting my epic fantasy aside. I’m not ready to write something so ambitious yet, and as such I’m picking up my manuscript from last year’s NaNoWriMo win – the so called “dark fairy tale” which is more like a young adult paranormal romance fairy tale. It’s a complete story but it desperately needs a rewrite and some fleshing out – what better way to practise and improve than by picking up a story I have previously put my heart and soul into and seeing where I can improve? And most of all, of course: practising my fiction writing.

How do you pull yourself through the self doubt? This time I’m taking the “it happens, keep going” approach but we can’t always be lucky enough to see it that way.

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4 thoughts on “Kicking Self Doubt in the Shins

  1. Self-doubt is probably something that every writer suffers from time to time but don’t let it take over or hold you back. If you ‘need’ to write then it’s also something that you’ll just have to ignore anyway!
    ‘Show not tell’ is very good advice but it’s also only that. Advice. There are other ways to write and the best way to improve is to write a lot and read a lot – see what other authors are doing and think why it works.
    Don’t know how old you are but I recently looked at some stories I wrote about 20 years ago. They had promise but having had time to become a better writer I could also look at them and see why they were never published! Being a ‘writer’ is rarely something that happens overnight. It needs practice and perseverance as well as talent.
    Blogging is good. It’s a different kind of writing but it’s still practice – look at every word and decide which ones are important and if you’re saying what you mean to say.
    Just keep writing and stay true to what you want to say and how you want to say it. You’ll find an audience in time.

  2. I used to stop writing the moment any self-doubt hit me. This resulted in having a few unfinished MS on file (which I still have, and will possibly take a look at someday), and me feeling like I could NEVER be a writer.

    This year, I’ve chosen to take a different approach. I’ve decided that I will KEEP writing, even through the doubt. My only goal, at this point anyway, is to FINISH something. I can work on perfecting the MS AFTER I finish it, at least that’s what I think!

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