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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.

Fantasy writer Lorraine Ambers blog banner

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.
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Writers, Don’t Let Doubt Stop You!

There comes a time in every artist’s journey when crippling self-doubt sets in. It’s an agonising period where all your hopes and dreams become overshadowed with fear. But before you scoop out the ice-cream and take cover in your bed, vowing to never write again, try a few of these techniques.

Keep track of your success.

When we’re gazing over the yawning expanse of our final destination, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with everything set before us. After all, there is no guarantee of our success. However, taking a look over your accomplishments will offer a glimmer of hope, proving that you can excel at what you set your mind too. Did you ever imagine that you’d write a novel?

Turn to your community.

Sharing your problems can help to alleviate them. Maybe you choose to turn to a blog post like this one, or to connect with like-minded individuals at a writing group, or through your social media. Just knowing there are other people who battle with the same demons may be enough to take the edge off. Remember this is a normal issue, it’s a universal fear, and it’s going to get easier.

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Don’t let fear be the driver

Acceptance in any situation allows us to relax into the moment and let go of our expectations. Easier said than done, however, if you can learn to live with the uncertainty, the doubts and fears, you gain back control to steer your life in the direction of your choice. Whenever I’m crippled by doubt, I work on releasing it by moving forward, redefining my goals, making small steps. Before you know it, the resistance will disappear and you’ll be gliding side-by-side with your creativity.

Take care of yourself

Sometimes, doubt comes at a time in our lives when we have internal and/ or external stress. Learning to listen to yourself, asking for help, or simply knowing when to slow down can be the greatest act of self-love. During those hard times, I choose to read, not only to escape the world but to have it redefined in words that often mirror my trials and tribulations. Reading is wonderfully cathartic and equally as important as writing, so I don’t have to feel guilty about taking time out.

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How do you combat self-doubt? By sharing your tips, you’re helping the writing community, so don’t be shy, 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, 2019.

 

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Why rejection is important?

Writers need to deal with rejection. The industry we work in is subjective and competitive. Striving for greatness comes at a cost, usually to our pride.

Recognition is important for everyone. Unfortunately artists tend to get the least amount, unless you’ve made it to the top. I haven’t I’m still way down in the trenches, striving for that elusive goal of being appreciated for my craft.

desk writing novel author Lorraine Ambers

I submitted my debut novel to ten agents. At the time my writing was the best I could achieve. So I sent my book baby off and used my excited/ anxious energy into creating the second in the series. Four months later, that driving force of anticipation had manifested into book two of The Shadow Knight Series. Amazing.

When all of the submissions came back with a polite ‘Not what we’re looking for.’ or ‘We don’t think your material is the right fit for us.’ I took a look at my submission package.

I was surprised to find my writing had improved. I cringed at my old material. The rejections morphed with my inner critical voice and attacked. We’ve all been there and it’s brutal. Rejection hurts. We get stressed out, upset and frustrated. That’s a useful tool.

writer worry rejection author Lorraine Ambers

This is where rejection can actually be useful. The driving force behind the hurt and disappointment allows us to re-evaluate and try again.

Remember: Successful people have made it because they didn’t give up.

Fear not, with the right mind-set and some initiative and introspect we can turn things around. By taking control of the situation, we can turn that negativity into something positive. Next time we’ll do better, or learn to be better. This isn’t the end of the road, it’s a bump in the path.

To paraphrase Samuel Beckett: fail again, fail better.

I revised the first 10,000 words, three more times. I’m confident that at this moment in time I have done my best. Who knows, maybe after revising book two, I’ll realise that I’ve grown some more. That can only be a good thing.

Conquer fear Author Lorraine Ambers

Keep going. Have faith and above all else believe in yourself.

Have you learnt any valuable lessons from rejection? If so, tell me about them. We’re all in this together and I’d love to hear from you.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

Submission hopes and fears

Are you embarking on the submission phase of your writing journey? Or perhaps like me, you’ve forged head-long into the process, only to feel lost and disorientated.

You’re in the ‘The Magic Eight Ball’ zone. The inside of your mind, has been shaken to its core. Only able to answer; Yes, No or Maybe to your pointless rhetorical questions. Will you find an agent, is your work polished enough, have you spelt the agents name correctly? Blah, Blah, Blah.

I knew going into this process, that waiting and rejection was inevitable. And still I was unprepared.

Submission writer agent hopes fears

As I discussed in my previous post Searching for an Agent. I’d researched the best fit agents for YA fantasy novels, fine-tuned my synopsis, pulled my big girl pants up and repeated, show no fear, you’ve got this.

I’m just five weeks in… I want to share some of my hurdles, blunders and worries I’ve faced:

  • Well-meaning friends congratulating you and ask, ‘When are you going to be published?’ – Urm, I don’t know. It’s about as helpful as asking a heavily pregnant woman, when is the baby going to arrive?
  • Having the best dream, where an amazing, talented agent hired you. Pulling you into a massive bear hug and promising that the world is your oyster. – Only to wake up. At least you know you’re passionate about your writing dream.  Right?
  • Stalking agents via Twitter, Tumbler or LinkedIn, heck maybe all three. Only to humiliate yourself with a miss understood tweet. – Hide from all forms of social media, close all the curtains and spend your life like a hermit. Yikes!
  • Doubting your skills and creativity. Questioning every plot decision that has led you to this point. – It’s hard passing your precious novel over to the great unknown. As a control queen, I thrive on setting my own goals and reaching them. This part requires blind faith in your work, leaving it up to the masters of the literary universe.

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I’ve already learnt from this process. By revaluating my hook and short bio, I’ve strengthened my chance at making a good first impression. There are some fantastic bloggers out there who have helped me develop those skills.

Shout-out to: 

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/secrets-of-story-structure-pt-2-hook/

The Submission Process

That magical moment when you decide NOT to quit writing #writing #writers — BlondeWriteMore

Love writing agent submission

An important part of the process is acknowledgement. It’s easy to let it corrode your self-esteem. You’re not alone in these worries; every writer has struggled with them. Embrace those fears. The whole experience is tinged with What If’s. Use that momentum to evaluate where you’re going and what you plan to do next.

I’ve come to realise that this process, as painful as it can be, is also liberating and exciting. Even if I don’t find the agent of my dreams, I’m not quitting. I can’t. What a huge eye opener. In fact, I’m already 20% into my first draft of book 2 and loving every minute. There’s a sense of satisfaction, in knowing my craft. In the continuous growth of mastering a skill.

Writing inspiration agent submission
Perhaps it will take a 100 submissions, perhaps it will be lucky book number 5, maybe it will never happen.

I’m still going to keep on writing, dreaming and plotting my way to the end.

I hope this blog gives a little bit of hope to anyone embarking on or wading through the query trenches. I love your advice and moral boosting comments, so don’t be shy.

Author writer Lorraine Ambers

Thanks for reading.

© Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com 2017