I hope everyone who celebrates has had a fantastic Christmas and not worked too hard over the festive period. Writerly Bookish Stuff has been quiet for a few days, but is now back with a bang. I have the pleasure of hosting author, Kayla Krantz, and she is here to discuss that dreaded self doubt and how to overcome it.
Over to you, Kayla…
Doubt—a writer’s greatest enemy. At one time, every writer (even the greats), have doubted their ability to wield a pen and create something worth reading.
Don’t believe me? Check this quote from Stephen King:
“I’m afraid of failing at whatever story I’m writing—that it won’t come up for me, or that I won’t be able to finish it.” ~Stephen King, Rolling Stone Interview (2014)
So, what can you do?
First and foremost, accept that you’re going to have those doubts and acknowledge the fact that you ARE a writer. Even if you haven’t been published. From the moment you pick up a pen, you’re a writer…even if you just write for yourself! If it makes you happy, then it’s worth the wiggle of discomfort that it may give you.
For all the books that I’ve written, I still feel self-doubt almost every time I launch a new book. When I’m waiting to hear back from my betas, I literally hold my breath when a new email comes in with feedback. The very first book I launched back in 2016, Dead by Morning, was my pride and joy. I had a lot of fun writing it and didn’t really begin to worry about it until editing came. Re-reading the content, I began to wonder how people would perceive it and if I should release it out into the world. Even to this day I still have doubts about the story and whether someone else could’ve written it better. It’s a thought I wrestle with every time the book receives a review of less than three stars but I keep it out in the world because I poured my heart into it.
Self-doubt is a sign of a good writer! When people have just a hint of doubt, they’re more likely to reach out and get advice and support. This leads to stronger and better stories in the end and possibly more networking opportunities for the writer. Writers who are over-confident have a tendency to believe their story is perfect from the first draft and that they won’t have to work on revisions—these are often the stories that need the most work.
When you pick up a pen and feel that self-doubt creep in, push it to the back of your mind and write! Every writer will have their lows where they wonder if their story is good enough to go out into the world and it is! Will it be perfect at first? Of course not, but that’s what revision and supportive friends are for! There are a number of fantastic writing sources online geared to help you perfect your manuscript.
And guess what?
All the people in these groups have struggled with self-doubt of their own so they understand exactly where you’re coming from. Sometimes, connecting with people who understand your feelings on that deep of a level can be the perfect way to help you overcome it as well.
You might think that meeting certain goals such as getting a number of reviews, being traditionally published, or winning an award may give you more confidence. And it might. For a while at least. But that self-doubt will begin to creep back in and you’ll go through the same cycle all over again. For a writer, it’s just the nature of the beast.
The number one cure to self-doubt is to write and keep writing! Write your heart out and use that self-doubt to pour all your emotions and vulnerable pieces of yourself into your characters, your world. The more of yourself you put into your work, the more realistic it will be after all.
Never let your self-doubt bring you away from writing. If you have an idea, put it down on paper no matter what the little voice in the back of your head says.
In the end, it will be worth it. I promise!
Proud author of Dead by Morning, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.
Where to find Kayla and her books: