The writer’s art of self-doubt

I am well acquainted with pressing the backspace on my keyboard, with crumpled up ideas thrown away in the bin. When it comes to sitting down to writing, I find it almost impossible not to doubt myself.

For as long as I’ve known, writing has played a big part in shaping who I am. I’ve always turned to writing down my frustrations, my thoughts or my daydreams and ideas. It has been a way for me to cope with the world and a way to understand it, as well as giving me the voice I needed to express who I am.

But recently, it’s become increasing hard to sit down and write. I often stare at a blank page in my book for a while, before shutting it and burying it in a draw of my desk; almost as if this method of denial of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ would work for me, which it does not.

It’s not that I have a writer’s block, I’m not stuck on what to write about because I’ve never been short on coming up with new ideas or expressing my thoughts on something. Yet when it comes to writing them down, I have this expectation of what it should form and, half the time, my idea never takes on that shape.It’s almost as if I struggle with translating the idea from my head onto the page in front of me, as if something gets lost in translation.

So I read somewhere that if you’re stuck with writing then you need to continue to write as it helps push past this barrier; and I have tried this myself, yet although it works, it’s been my experience that the rewards of such medicinal treatment are usually short-lived.

I find that once I am past this block, I’m able to write in quick bursts of creativity; before slumping into months of blank pages and endless self-doubt wrapped around me, because I feel that whatever I do write is not what I want to say or even worth saying at all. 

But sometimes, things change and having seen some of my friends running blogs or writing poetry or stories, I decided to try and follow their lead.

I dipped my toe back in the water by starting this blog and writing again. I think having seen my friends, and fellow writers,  continue writing has made me want to try again, as well as inspired me almost.

So I start with no expectations for myself, or for this blog. I haven’t decorated and I haven’t written drafts or planned where I’m going with this blog – and I don’t plan to either! 

Why? Well it’s like forcing me through one barrier, only to build another that limits me to being a certain type of writer. Why tear down one wall to build another?

I think for me to stop doubting my skills as a writer, I need to stop pressuring myself to fit one category and I need to stop expecting too much of myself by setting high targets; it’s the quickest way for me to lose sight and become unmotivated because I’ve failed to live up to the ‘me’, I’ve built up inside my own mind. 

That’s why I’m setting no more rules or standards because I’ll get there at my own pace. 

– E


2 thoughts on “The writer’s art of self-doubt

  1. I’m so glad you decided to post this!! I can totally identify with the “lost in translation” thing. That is probably my #1 roadblock when I’m writing–I’ve got these gorgeous scenes unfurling in my imagination, but then when I write them down they don’t match up.

    I’ve been trying to find my favorite authors’ first drafts of things to prove to myself that it’s the editing process that helps flesh out what I want things to sound like, and that’s been helping.

    Good luck to you! I’ll be following you journey. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read this post! I think it’s this common process of getting lost in what something should be, rather than losing yourself to the creation process. Once you hold no expectations and write simply for the sake of it – that, for me anyway, is when everything feels right. Don’t worry about what should or shouldn’t be, just write and hopefully the words will just come to you. Good luck with writing and I wish you all the best!

      – E

      Liked by 1 person

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