It Starts With You
It’s been fourteen years since I started my writing journey. So much has changed and yet some things have remained the same. My writing style has changed, concepts have drastically improved, and my characters seem lifelike. But, with all this progress one thing has always held me back from reaching my goal—it’s a little thing I like to call self-doubt. Okay, so it’s not so little, in fact, it’s become a major detriment to my writing career.
Self-doubt plagues nearly every author at least once in their lifetime (or if you’re in my case, every single day). I’ve hinted at this problem before in other blog posts, so I won’t bore you with the same old story—no, this time, I’m coming clean about just how bad self-doubt affects me.
Let me start at the beginning. It wasn’t until three years ago that I began writing seriously. The eleven years before that I played around with the idea of being a full-time writer one day. Unfortunately, I was consumed with the idea of being friends with everyone and . . . well focusing on things that really didn’t matter. By the time 2016 came around, I remember putting my foot down with myself and saying that writing is my passion and I was going to be more dedicated. For three years I believed my writing was worth it and that my stories had a message the world should hear (don’t worry, this mentality hasn’t change 😉). But these were empty words I kept telling myself and others to hide the growing problem—self-doubt continued to rear its ugly head.
See, during those eleven years of “writing for fun” I just had an expensive hobby; my heart wasn’t really into it. I guess a part of me thought that I’d get my big break magically just like some of the great writers did. Boy, was I delusional! No one’s rise to fame is the same. Some struggle for decades whereas others get that random stroke of luck. With this mindset, my friends and family began thinking I had an expensive hobby too and no one took me seriously because I wasn’t.
So, for the last three years, I’ve put on a mask. One that tells the world I’ll be the next up and coming sci-fi/fantasy author. But behind that, I felt like a fraud. My self-doubt ate away at me day after day until the point where I believed that my writing wasn’t worth it.
And before I go further, I can already hear some of you now (who have read my latest books), “What? Are you crazy? You’re writing is great!”
Haha! Thanks, I seriously appreciate that. But I could have a room full of fans tell me how great my work is and still feel that it’s terrible. (No, I’m not diminishing what the fans are saying. I really do appreciate the support!) It wasn’t until I began working that I realized just how far I allowed self-doubt to control me. Often, my boss asks me if I can work later, which I immediately say yes even though I have so much book-related things I could be doing. I rarely say, “No, I have a lot of editing to do” or “No, I need to get some writing done.” This isn’t because I feel they wouldn’t understand; in fact, they do. They know that my primary reason for working is to help boost my writing career. But when I have to say I need to get writing done, instead of them replying, “Oh, that’s no problem! Just clock out at normal time.” In my self-doubt delusional brain, I hear, “It’s just an expensive hobby,” “We’re paying you to work extra,” “Don’t you want the extra money?”, “This is your real job, it pays the bills”.
Okay, yes, I realize how absurd that sounds, but this is what anxiety and self-doubt do. They create unreasonable scenarios and you feel like what you love doesn’t matter. Well, let me tell you it does!
After I finally opened up the self-doubt wound and peered inside to see what caused it to fester, I saw the root problem. And let me tell you, it’s an easy fix. It’s no secret that I wasn’t an English major. I barely passed English in high school and college. Heck, if your grammar is on point, you’ve probably found a dozen typos, five sentence structure errors, and maybe even a missing comma or two just in this blog post alone. That’s my Achilles Heel. The actual art of writing. Ironic, huh? It’s always been a problem for me and it’s always leading my self-doubt. So, I decided to do something about it. I became
determined to learn more about the technical side of writing.
I know this post has been one of my more long-winded “confessions”, but I felt it was something I needed to unload. There are so many other artists, not just writers, who feel the same burden of self-doubt weighing them down. It’s difficult to get out of, but not impossible. It takes time, but it all starts with you. Only you can release yourself from the curse of the artist’s self-doubt. Find the root cause and yank it out of your mind. And remember, you’re not alone in this battle.