Welcome to November’s ‘Writerly Witterings’, the monthly blog I write to support, inspire and motivate other writers.
Writers seem to suffer from crippling self doubt more than people in any other profession.
This is possibly due to the personal and intimate nature of sharing our ‘internal worlds and thoughts’ with the rest of the world, as well as the fact that we often work in isolation, with little external verification.
You may recall that in last month’s blog post, I advised you to ensure you tell everyone, when they ask you, that you are a writer, no matter how far you are down your own writing path.
Being asked about what you are working on keeps you accountable and hopefully, proud of your progression.
And when you’re asked about your work in progress, here’s what not to say:
‘I’m not really getting the time right now.’
‘I feel like what I’m writing is rubbish.’
‘Yeah, I’m doing a bit but I don’t know if anyone will want to read it.’
‘I’ve got lots of things I never finish.’
Turn those negative statements into something wonderful instead:
‘My writing is so important that I write as much as I can – most days, in fact.’
‘I’m really proud of what I’ve done. Writing is not easy but I love it.’
‘My work still needs a bit of editing but I can’t wait to get it into the world.’
‘I get the opposite of writers block. I have so many ideas I need to make myself focus on one thing at a time.
Read the negative statements out loud first, then the positive ones. Listen for the change in your voice. Watch for how each sentence makes you feel.
The first sort of writer isn’t going to feel inspired to continue, but the second one is! They are likely to have far more support and interest from other people. What you put out is what you will attract.
If you are someone whose writing momentum is currently suffering because of self doubt, read the following five tips to get yourself back on track:
- Whatever you are writing, only you can write it. If you don’t, it will never get done.
- Most first drafts need a lot of further work. But without a first draft, you’ve nothing to work with. A modest first draft is better than a blank page.
- Being a writer is something you only ever get better at, no matter what stage you are at now. You are always developing your craft.
- Life passes so quickly. Whatever your definition of writing success, strive towards it. The only time to start, continue or complete something is now! Don’t ever regret not 'going for it.'
- Remember the only difference between an 'aspiring' writer and a 'successful' writer is that the latter gave themselves time, got themselves sat down and ensured their wordcount grew. They honed their writing skills on a regular basis.
All writers doubt themselves from time to time. As creators of characters and situations, we’re often highly empathetic and sensitive. Plus, we spend a lot of time living inside our own heads, in our own company, without external encouragement or validation.
It’s easier said than done but you absolutely have to believe in yourself and the unique contribution you can make through your writing. No matter what you’re working on, it WILL appeal to others. There’s such an appetite for novels, poetry, short stories and memoir that what you have to offer WILL find its audience. It’s just a matter of getting that unique first draft FINISHED so you’ve got something to work with.
If this blog post has resonated with you or you need further advice, please do not hesitate to drop me a line. As a creative writing teacher, I always love to help a fellow writer.
PS In February, I am getting married and changing my name to Maria Frankland! Shortly after this, I will be releasing ‘The Last Cuckoo.’ (Autonomy Press.) If you would like to join my ‘Advance Reader Team,’ please follow this link to join.
You will receive an advance copy of the book for your opinion, a chance to buy it on launch day for just 99p and you will also be entered into a prize draw to win a fantastic ‘reader goodie bag.’