Friday, July 13, 2012

Dropkicking Doubt In The Face

Every writer I know has faced self-doubt at some point. I don't think you can be a writer and not EVER feel any sort of doubt (and if you can, I am infinitely jealous).

Doubt in your story.

Doubt in your writing.

Doubt in your capability to grow.

Doubt that anyone will ever "get" your story.

Doubt that anyone will ever love your story like you do.

Doubt that you'll ever be pulled out of the slush pile.

Doubt that you'll ever get The Call.

Doubt that you'll ever see your book on a shelf.

Doubt that you're cut out for this.

This writing thing? It's hard. It's not an easy dream to follow. It's not a reliable career choice. It's cut-throat and emotional and fierce and unpredictable. You have to be good. You have to be REALLY good. I'm still at the waaaay beginning of this journey, but I know it'll only get crazier from here. (And more awesome, obviously.)

But you know what? Letting self-doubt paralyze you doesn't help. No, it doesn't. Maybe your fears are legitimate, maybe not. Maybe you're better than you think or maybe not. Either way, doubt only halts the process of moving forward. If you start to feel it creeping in, DON'T LISTEN TO IT.

You're stronger than that.

It's one thing to recognize your weaknesses and work hard to improve, but it's another to wallow over them. I'm totally guilty of wallowing from time to time, but I'm trying not to. I'm trying to focus on moving forward, taking it one day at a time, one challenge at a time.

And this is what I'm learning: if you start to notice doubt rearing its ugly head, then freaking dropkick it in the face and keep on keepin' on. Because that's how you succeed. 

Drafting and doubt comes along? DROPKICK IT IN THE FACE and finish the damn draft.
Revising and doubt strolls by? DROPKICK IT IN THE FACE and work your butt off to make your story shine.
Reading a brutally honest critique and doubt pops its head in? DROPKICK IT IN THE FACE and take the advice like a champ, using it to make your story better.
Receiving form rejections and doubt does a jig in your peripheral vision? DROPKICK IT IN THE FACE and send out more queries, dammit.

Basically, violence is the answer when it comes to self-doubt. Works every time. :D


  1. Violence is the answer when it comes to self-doubt! hahahaha! I love you!

    Do you know what used to bring me excessive amounts of doubt? other people's amazing work... I would read a book by a favorite author, and then wallow in misery for days, thinking I should just quit now because I'd never be that good. EVER. And it was really hard being in that place.

    But lately, and I don't know what has changed, when I read an amazing book.. instead of feeling inadequate in my writing abilities (which still have a loooong way to go) I feel excited about working on my stories.

    I'm starting to believe, truly, that I can, and will one day (hopefully sooner rather than later, LOL ) write something that is good. Good enough to be published.

    Of course, I still suffer from doubt, and lots of it, but it no longer makes me want to quit. It makes me want to work harder. This is a much better place to be. Though when those rejections start coming in... we shall see what happens, right?

    oh wait, I'll just DROP KICK IT IN THE FACE!

  2. Great post. It is a hard thing to do, somedays harder than others, but the alternative is to give up - and I'm so not going to do that! Take care out there and don't forget to duck!

  3. Have you been taking MMA classes, by any chance?

  4. Oh man I totes needed this post. I def have to stop wallowing and just drop kick these revisions in the face and move on. lol.

  5. Yes! I like this post a lot. Very motivational, Amanda, thanks!

  6. I'll dropkick that doubt till Wednesday... then I'll do it again!

  7. Whoa, lady. This is a HELLA powerful post. Well done you.

    And, yeah. Doubt has its place. But so does dropkicking it in the face. YOU WIN.


  8. Oh, I needed this. Just got another rejection on a query and am starting to wonder about this whole process...

  9. THis is exactly what I needed! Reaching that part in my WIP where I'm over analyzing everything! But no longer!


    I got this!

  10. Thank you for this post. I was feeling kind of frustrated with my revisions last night and finding this post, Amanda, was great. I know that whatever happens, I'll have written a book and that is an incredible feat that not many people can say. I am totally gonna DROPKICK SELF-DOUBT IN THE FAAAAACE!!!!!! :-) Thanks for this!!!!