How to Deal With Self-Doubt as a Writer

Today’s one of those days. It’s filled with self-doubt. All these big feelings of a sense of worthlessness, worry, anxiety. And I’m writing a novel, so I’m dealing with the big question: Who would want to publish this?

There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt when you’re a writer. Not only will you doubt yourself, but other people will doubt you, too. I’ve learned that you have to continue writing even when you don’t feel like it. I’ve discovered that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea.

In the end, self-doubt is just part of the job of being a writer. It pains me to say it, but self-doubt is a completely normal part of being a writer. Award-winning novelist Mindy Halleck, says her grandmother would tell her: “Never let self-doubt drive your car. It rides in the back seat.” Meaning you’ll always have doubts, just don’t let them run the day. Put them at the back of your mind.

Here are three things I remind myself on days like today, to prevent self-doubt from driving the car:

1. Take your eyes off the price and put them on the prize.

2. It takes as much energy to be a non-writer as to be a writer. It’s just a question of where the energy is directed.

3. Self-doubt is just part of the creative process. It doesn’t go away. It sits there. It’s part of the process. So we need to learn to live with that and go forward. Finish your manuscript, publish your book, and get your words out into the world anyway.