As a writer have you ever thought:
- I hate what I’ve written.
- It’s not really important, it’s just a hobby.
- I’m a perfectionist, I have to get it right.
- This is a stupid idea, I should give up now.
- Who would want to read this anyway?
If you’ve never had any thoughts like these, then you are a very rare breed of writer.
In my experience, every writer goes through some form of self-doubt. I have felt it, and still feel it when I start a new project. For many writers, it’s something that might stick around for an entire writing career even as they produce book after book after book.
Self-doubt (which includes perfectionism and imposter syndrome) amounts to one thing: fear of judgement. This fear can lead to writing through lenses tinted with the imagined criticism of others. It can be so crippling that writing stalls or stops altogether. Stepping out of fear (or perhaps pushing through it) is never easy, but it can be done.
The first step is to understand that the initial draft is going to be drafty. Many writers know the concept of the shitty first draft, a term probably coined by Ernest Hemingway and expanded on by Anne Lamott. But I like the word drafty. Imagine you’re building a house. The framing is in place but not the walls, and the wind can whistle through. It’s pretty darn drafty. Without that drafty foundation, there can never be a finished house. It’s the same with your writing – it will start out drafty and won’t be sealed until the final version.
The second step is to own that you are a writer. You can have a strong writing identity without being published; it is about where your heart lies. No one has led the life you have. No one has your unique perspective. No one can tell the stories within you as you will tell them. I want you to declare with confidence, “I am a writer!” “I AM a writer!” Acknowledge that, own that, and create time and space to honour who you are in words.
I believe there are hundreds of thousands of beautiful manuscripts lurking in heads, closed drawers and computer folders around the world that will never see the light of day because of the fear of what others may think. Remember the drafty framework analogy? While the house may be unfinished, those foundations are still solid. In the same way, there will be aspects of a strong framework within your first draft even if you can’t see it.
Your fear of getting the writing done may be the same as my fear of creating a writing business. I have engaged not one but two coaches to help me push through the boundaries I have created for myself so I can do the same for you and your writing. I have engaged these coaches because I believe that I have a special gift to offer the world, and I know that someone I trust will guide me towards being the best version of myself for my business and for my clients.
I can be that trusted and experienced person for you, someone who will acknowledge your feelings of vulnerability and will be the champion for you and your story.
If you want to chat about what that might look like, I am available for an obligation-free Zoom strategy call. We’ll talk about you, why you’re writing, what’s working, what’s not working, and we’ll discuss your writing dreams. If you think I can help you remove self-doubt, we can look at client options around that. And if we’re not a fit, I’ll make sure you leave the call with the next step. Please don’t remain crippled with fear and self-doubt when I may be the one to help you through it.
If you’d like to know more about my writing philosophy, you can watch this free webinar.