Self-doubt is something I, along with many others, experience on a day-to-day basis. In fact, the only reason I held off from creating a blog until now was because I didn’t feel that I was good enough. I am constantly doubting whether my writing is of the same quality as others, and I know not to compare my work to others (we all have different styles after all) but it doesn’t stop me from thinking that what I produce isn’t as good as it could be. It is for this reason I suppose, that I hesitate before calling myself a writer. Instead, I call myself an aspiring writer. The word aspiring leaves some wiggle room. It clearly shows my aim, but leaves enough space for improvement.
There are many other ways in which self-doubt has hindered me in my journey. The frustration that comes with it leaves me stuck for inspiration and motivation to write. How many times have I got home, itching to write something and switched on my laptop, opened a Word Document, and tried to type something, but suddenly finding it almost impossible to write even a sentence? It feels like I’ve wandered into a field, squelching with mud that collects around my ankles so that they feel so heavy and weighed down that actually getting out of it seems too much effort. I end up deleting that one sentence that I’ve written and re-written at least four times, because it feels as if I could do better.
Self-doubt as a writer, for me at least, is crippling.
There have even been times where I wondered if I was doing the right thing by aiming to be a writer. Wondered if it should just stop and chose to do something else with my life.
But when everything feels most futile, I read over some of the things I’ve written, and I find myself shocked. I look at what I had done years ago, then what I have been working on now, and suddenly I’m reassured that I haven’t made a mistake and wasted years of my life on an impossible dream. It’s because I can see the improvements that I’ve made over time. Although I know I still have a way to go, I feel closer to my goals. Closer to be able to call myself a writer.
The best advice I can give to anyone also struggling with self-doubt in anything is to not give up. To be a writer, you need to write. And write. And write. And to continue writing, even when you feel stuck-in-the mud. Then with time, effort, and patience, you will be able to see the hard work pay off. If you really can’t type even a word for something you’ve been working on, then try some new and different. Experiment with your creative process, change it up. You write in bed during the evening but find yourself with a pounding headache because nothing is coming out the way you want it to? Try writing in the morning at a desk instead! Even small thing like that can make all the difference sometimes, but the main thing is to never give up. As the old saying goes after all, practise makes perfect.