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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

Abstract art

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.
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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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The Incredible Power of Journaling in Six Simple Steps

I’ve written a lot about the importance of selfcare and how writing can be an incredible way to manage your emotions. Even though we know it helps reduce stress and improve our mental health, have you ever considered how to get the most benefit from it? In this post, I’ll walk you through my process of journaling, and then show you how to reflect upon what you’ve written, and how to use it to your advantage as a self-reflective tool in six simple steps.

I journaled for many years, sometimes on a regular basis and sometimes not so regular. And in all that time, do you know what I learnt about myself? Nothing! While it was a great tool for me to understand my emotions and allowed me to dig deep into how they affected me, I never developed any inner awareness, or learnt how to resolve problems.

My mum died when I was a teenager and journaling became my confidant. It enabled me to escape the overwhelming grief and gave my consuming thoughts an outlet. This period of my life has now become my greatest tool as a writer. It taught me how to portray emotions effectively, becoming my first training ground for developing characters. With time, my life improved and my journaling become infrequent and patchy. This was my first big mistake.

The Little Journal Company

Be Consistent.

To gain the most out of journaling it is essential to use it consistently. It doesn’t have to be every day, which can seem daunting, it could be once a week, but sticking to it on a regular basis . Otherwise, like me, you’ll find yourself journaling sporadically and I can’t tell you how ineffective this will be.

Get out of a rut.

Sometimes journaling can become a chore, perhaps you simply don’t know  what to write about. Journal about the mundane, the stuck place, the difficult work colleague, the wonderful summer, or about how flattered you were by a passing compliment. Just keep it going.

Use some of these prompts to get you going:

  • What was the most challenging part of your day?
  • Write 3 affirmations that help you align with your goals.
  • Write a special memory, then write about how this has influenced your life.
  • Use your favourite motivational quote and expand on it… why is it relevant to you and your life, how does it help?
  • What is you goal, what steps are you taking towards it, and most importantly what has the journey so far taught you?
  • Write 5 things about yourself that you love? Now write about what thoughts and feelings came up as you did this exercise.
Daily affirmations

Add gratitude.

Why?  Because it pushes positivity into your journal and therefore into our minds. It brightens patches of our lives that perhaps we’re struggling with. It gives hope! Taking a different perspective of your life can help you appreciate the things you take for granted. Add one thing you’re grateful for into each entry, and see the difference it makes.

Problem solve.

We encounter many problems in life, and some seem insurmountable. By journaling consistently, you’ll begin to clearly see the issues you face, therefore, you can begin to find solutions. Do you need to have an awkward conversation with a friend? Write about what you plan to say, and about your desired outcome. This should bring clarity and relief. Maybe the problem can’t be fixed, maybe it’s something you have to come to terms with like an illness or a loss. Instead, write about how you plan to take care of yourself. Consider areas where you’re being to hard on yourself and practise self-love, allowing yourself to lessen the burdens that hail you.

Self-reflect and review your process.

It’s important to read back, or skim, your journal. Look at everything that’s transpired over the last, week, month or even year – depending on when you choose to review. Imagine you’re the author, and that each entry has been made by your main character. What journey have you been on? What patterns can you see arising? What problems have you resolved and what can you learn from the process. Are you coping with a difficult situation? Are you happier than you’ve previously been? View everything with curiosity and wonder, turn off the self-criticism and really allow yourself compassion and understanding. Keep exploring, and remember you’ll discover far more about yourself if you’re kind.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

Do you Journal? If so, do you have any other tips to share? Or, maybe you’ve never journaled, but you’re toying with the idea; are you ready to give it a go? Don’t be shy, share your journey with 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, 2019.
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Hopes and Fears of a writer

As writers, we need self-discipline, perseverance and an unwavering faith in our abilities. However, as writers, we will be plagued with self-doubt, procrastination and writers block. Today we’re looking at some of the difficulties we face and how to combat the negative aspects and stay in alignment with our goals.

Let’s acknowledge some of the draw backs to being a writer. It’s often solitary; in the early days of writing a draft, the plot and our characters become our only companions. We shield ourselves from the awkwardness of admitting out loud that we are writers, to avoid the embarrassment of how we define ourselves. After all, at what point can we truly identify with being a writer, or even an author. When you’ve wrote a book? Maybe when you’ve wrote three books? Or perhaps when you get an agent? Possibly, until you hold the published novel in your hands?  

And so you keep your passion a secret, burrowed away in your fantastical worlds of words. While the fire is hot, your creativity soars and the story oozes onto the page. You feel brave and inspired, and why wouldn’t you, not only have you created conflict and tension for your characters to overcome, but you’ve also crossed those hurdles with them. Every character arc has been meticulously navigated and you’ve fuelled their emotions with your own.

Then we move onto edits; we get feedback and learn to handle criticism. Though it may pinch, you know in your heart the changes will strengthen your manuscript, and so you courageously persevere. Finally, you start submitting your work, but the rejections trickle in.

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Yes, you’re on Twitter and Instagram. And yes you participate in the blogging community. You’re doing all the right things, and yet, the nagging doubts that your not quite good enough seep in. Well-meaning family and friends ask about your novels, they want to know when they can read your book. And honestly, you’d like to know when that will happen too.

This is when the plague sweeps in. What if no one likes mywork? What if I’m never published? What if I write ten books and still feel like a fraud, a complete and utter imposter. What if my dreams never come true?

Take a deep breath my friends, you’re not in this place alone. Reach out to your community and they will respond with kind words of encouragement, because they have also visited this dark place. It will pass. The anxiety will disperse. If you’ve reached this desolate place, then it’s time to take a step back and practice self-love, self-compassion and self-care.

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The traditional writing industry is difficult to break into, and rejection stings. Indie authors juggle an incredible amount of responsibility, constantly striving to grow their business and reach potential readers. And writers battling their first novel have overwhelming new lessons to learn.

Whatever route you’ve taken, it takes guts to be a writer, putting your heart and soul into something for years that no one sees. Who knows what’s next? That’s not the point, look at where you’ve been and all you’ve accomplished. I congratulate you, I validate your struggles, and I’ll be here to celebrate your success.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

How do you deal with the negative side of writing? I’d love to hear your answers because I know how incredibly supportive you are.

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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Writers: have faith in your dreams.

We all hold a vision of what our success looks like, that shiny dream that’s so incredibly big and bold, that at times seems unattainable. So how do you maintain the faith when life knocks you off track or your self-doubt kicks in? Well today, I’m going to give you a little pep talk for keeping the spirit of your dreams alive.

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Chase your Dreams

“The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself.” – Tony Robins

Change that negative story to a positive one.

It’s important to have self-belief and crush any negativity by reading my post on how to eliminate that pesky gremlin: self-doubt.

Remember to appreciate your past accomplishments and celebrate the small steps to success. It takes hard work and determination to make it, with a lot of setbacks along the way. You need the good to smooth out the bad. It’s all about balance…. And a little bit of positivity.

I love using daily affermations to boost my self-esteam like:

I am worthy.

I am a published author.

I am capable of anything.

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Follow your dreams to the ends of the earth

“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.” – J.P Morgan

And you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

Whilst working towards your dreams, its important to hold the vision, make goals and keep them, plus learn from your mistakes. You can read my post on chasing your dreams for inspiration. Don’t forget that life is all about the journey. Take time to enjoy where you are now, because nothing lasts forever, we are constantly evolving, learning and growing as individuals.

“Success seems to be connected to action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they never quit.” –John Willard Marriott

Never fear failure, it shows your trying.
Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Thanks for stopping by. Do you have faith in your dreams? If so, please share them with me. You know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Are you Stuck in the Middle of Writing a Novel?

Hello, my wonderful writing buddies.

With less than two weeks until the end of NaNo, many of you should be halfway through your first draft. And if you’re anything like me, then you’re also stuck in the middle of your WIP. So today I wanted to show support, offer a little guidance and throw in a couple of great quotes to get us all moving again.

desk writing novel author Lorraine Ambers

Whether you write a detailed outline or dive straight into your new WIP, there is going to come a point at which it’s hard to move forward. Trust me, it’s not unusual, and it’s happened with my first two novels and again with my third. I’ve hit the halfway word count; I know where I’m heading, but something is stopping me from progressing. And yes its procrastination, but it’s more than that, it’s the inner monologue that comes with the writer territory. Well, let’s nip that self-doubt/ critical voice in the bud.

As soon as I stopped over-thinking my process, my infernal internal editor shut up, my characters started talking to me again, and my writing improved vastly. Turned out the very thing I thought was helping me be a good writer was holding me back.
K.M. Weiland – Are You Over-Thinking Your First Draft?

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The best we can do in this situation is to apply self-discipline. Sit down at the laptop – typewriter – notepad – napkin or whatever your preferred method is and begin, keep going and don’t stop. Whatever you need to do… Do it! Research, plot, plan or write. Become your own personal cheerleader. You’ll soon be over the hump.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. –  Ernest Hemingway

And for those of you who are struggling because you’re stressed, under the weather, or have too much on your plate with work and family commitments: I want to tell you that it’s ok to have a duvet day. Our creativity can’t bloom under those pressures. The best thing you can do is practise self-love. Your creativity will thank you for it.

If you are willing to do something that might not work, you’re closer to being an artist. –Seth Godin

I hope I’ve inspired you to keep going. What do you do to get over the writing hurdle? Perhaps your advice will help me, plus you know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love Xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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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.
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Procrastination

I thought about writing a post giving my top tips to avoid procrastination. But the truth is, there’s only one: Sit down and get it done.

I wonder if there are people who don’t suffer with this plight. Perhaps certain individual are too driven and focused to let such forces come into play.

I also wonder if the very act of procrastination is in fact another emotion. Doubt, anxiety and depression are my biggest causes. I flounder, an overwhelming sense of being lost, unclear of my path and sometimes a down right lack of caring about myself. The fog has enveloped my mind, muddied my outlook and taken rot in my soul.

I didn’t blog last week. I simply couldn’t face it. I had no pearls of wisdom to share. Instead of beating myself up over the fact that I was underperforming, missing my goals and a variety of other things I could sling at myself worth. I admitted defeat with grace, accepted that occasionally my mental health is at a critical low and the best thing I can do is recuperate.

My state of mind is a gift and a curse, my craft explores the joy and pain of the world around me. It’s how I make sense of my life. Too much suffering shuts down my creativity and cripples me.

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe

Take care of yourselves, you’re worth it.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

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