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How to Overcome self-doubt as a Writer

A lack of faith or confidence in our ability as an artist is something all writers struggle with. Sometimes it’s fleeting like a summer breeze, other times, it lingers like a winter  frost. So how do we navigate the storm and overcome self-doubt?

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We’ve all heard the little gremlins, but what makes us carry on despite the crippling fear. One of my favourite quotes is by Suzy Kassem. She hits the proverbial nail on the head with her wise words. 

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem.

Sometimes it’s the shove I need to keep going, to keep trying. I cling to the hope that tomorrow I’ll believe in myself once again.

Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back
Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

For me, perseverance is the only option. In the past, I’ve buried myself in a double quilt, hidden in Netflix series whilst gorging on chocolate: The ultimate self-pity, self-sabotage, procrastination. If you catch yourself in this place, ask yourself these three questions:

  • What do you fear the most? Failure? Ridicule? Or is it success and living in your own power?
  • What’s Holding you back? Is it a lack of knowledge, practice, or feedback? And how can you change that?
  • What would you do differently if you believed in myself? 

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“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  – Vincent Van Gogh

And so we should continue to paint with our words, dream up characters, learn our trade, and most importantly, let your joy and passion lead you. Forget the outside world, the setbacks, the criticism and write

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Remember we have the right to nurture ourselves, to take a step back, regroup and reconnect to those we care about. As a suffer of Complex PTSD, I understand that sometimes the inner voice is the cruelest one of all. I now know, self-care and self-love are important for me to be able to create. Occasionally, I need to step back from a project and recharge my creativity. I no longer allow guilt to weigh me down, it’s all part of the process. Me time, strengthens my writing. 

“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare.

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What helps you navigate the choppy waters of self-doubt? Please share your experiences to help other writers, and to help me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

5 tips for overcoming doubt

Sometimes we are our own harshest critique. I’ll never be good enough. I’m not successful. Or popular, clever, talented…

We’re all aware of the horrendous things people say, but ignore or enforce the ones we say to ourselves. How would you feel if a stranger said your writing was crap? Seriously, how? Hurt. Angry. Crushed. And yet when we say those same things to ourselves, about our own writing, we allow it. Even back it up with reasons why it’s rubbish.

If only we were taught as children to see the best in ourselves. To see failure as progress. And to problem solve our doubts away.

I think we’d take that nagging critical voice and lock it in a cupboard. Or we’d shout back at that voice: How dare you speak to me like that. I deserve more respect. I’ve worked tirelessly on my writing and I will continue to improve.

Now that’s a world I’d like to live in.

Key to success Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Here are my top five tips on beating doubt and crushing that nagging internal voice. Because we can, and we will succeed.

1. Realisation. When we pay attention to doubt we can stop it dead in its tracks. I don’t mean get out your pompoms and cheer along with it. I mean, pay attention to the times it kicks in. Acknowledge it and then kick it to the curb. The next time your inner critic starts shouting, try visualising a giant red stop sign.

2. Write a list of all of your accomplishments and what makes you great. I bet being creative comes to mind, because creative folks tend to struggle with self-doubt. But that’s ok, find the positive and jot it down. From being a great listener to passing your driving test, or finishing the first draft of a novel. Be proud of the small and major things that define your life and who you are. The next time doubt comes calling take a look at your list and remind yourself of how great you are.

3. Inspirational quotes. Not only are they great pick-me-ups, but they also make us realise that everyone struggles with similar issues. We are not alone in our doubts, but we can overcome them. So pop over to Pinterest and find your favourites. Try printing some out and pinning them on the wall by your desk, or saving one as your home screen. Let the positive words shine brighter than the negative.

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4. Take some time to relax and unwind. When I burnout, I crumble. Therefore learning to stop before stress becomes a major factor is important. Equally important is to give yourself a break, if you do burnout, that’s ok too. Forgive yourself, Love yourself and take a dame break. The housework, your MS and the 101 other things that are building up will all be there tomorrow. I grant you permission to eat chocolate, watch Netflix and hug a pet or pillow.

5. Set goals and work towards them. Bite-size steps give us attainable and realistic expectations. Make them too big and we give up with the knowledge that we we’re right. We’ll never amount to anything. And that’s not what we want. But chop your dream into tiny pieces and celebrate each small success is how we can achieve even the largest dream. Maybe it’s to write 500 words per day, or join a creative writing class, or send your work to a beta reader. Whatever the step: it’s you building upon your dream and making it a reality.

So take that doubt. We’re crushing you and working our way up the success ladder.

I hope you found my tips helpful. I’m sure there are many ways to overcome doubt, why don’t you share some of your tips with me. Thanks for reading.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
dragon fairy flower magic fantasy

Why I Love Fantasy, Magic and Romance

I write about everything and anything that’s influenced me with the same tenacity as a child’s ability to see and believe in the impossible. My novels are in the guise of fantasy because it’s a world far removed from the mundane, ordinary and boring. Rich in the tapestry of life’s experiences, steeped in mystery and wonder.

I moved often as a child. My father was a soldier, so we were reposted every couple of years. I’d always find the local tadpole pond, the best den building spots or creepy forests, where witches lived and the number 3 was a bad omen. In that regards I had an idealistic childhood, out from (I’m not a vampire, honest) dawn till dusk. The outdoors was a safe haven, a magical realm where my imagination was the only limit.

Art, pink, birds

My love of fairy-tales came from my mum. She would point at acorn shells and say that they were faerie cups. Show me an autumn forest floor and declare that the pixies must have had a party before we came. Seed-shells would become hats or shoes and flowers would be their clothes. She decorated my room in faerie ornaments and artwork. She allowed me to choose my own path in life.

As I grew older, moving so often ground me down.  My father took a redundancy from the army but the uncertainty increased. We moved four times in that year. It stripped my self-esteem and left me unable or unwilling to leave the house. I faked illnesses or struggled with migraines. My world had become a nightmare, so I clung to my daydreams.

 

 

fairy book girl fantasy
photo credit: Rachel.Adams Once Upon a Time via photopin (license)

My parents separated (again) and we moved to Wales. A place I could call home. Mums roots run deep in these parts and I knew I’d have a window of opportunity to make friends through my family ties.

I discovered the joys of reading. My cousin lent me her point horror and thriller books, which I devoured. The romances were tantalising and yet unsatisfactory. Their tales of first love seemed to skirt the deeper connections I searched for. They never explored the seduction of heart that I’d envisaged in my reveries.

A world of fantasy was one I’d retreat to in my mind. I guess it was my salvation. If magic and romance existed, perhaps my own existence could be tolerated.

Isn’t that why we read? Too escape and explore the unknown.

My perspective has changed since my depressed, teenage years. I do see magic; it exists in the beauty of life that’s taken for granted. We forget about what’s right in front of us. Until that magical moment when our fleeting joy bubbles up, reminding us of our fortunes.

For some, making dreams a reality is nothing more than fantasy. But I believe in that too. We have the power to change our future and become who we truly desire to be.

And of course, romance and love. Not the destructive, selfish type my parents taught me. The gentle, considerate kind of love that burns slow and steady for eternity.

Thanks for reading. What’s your favourite genre and why? You know I love hearing from you.

photo credit: Rachel.Adams <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40988970@N05/21506365601″>Once Upon a Time</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;