Writing Advice: Conquer Self-Doubt


I’m going to be straight-up honest with you guys today. The advice in today’s post comes from someone other than me, and it’s advice that I, myself, need.

Last week, I wrote about finding the inspiration in what others create. I think this is really important, and I think that “filling your creative tank” is something that you have to periodically do. However, there is also a downside to this practice. Constantly exposing yourself to fabulous, well-done fiction can make you doubt yourself. For example, delving into behind-the-scenes information about a show like Breaking Bad can make you wonder if you’ll ever write something half as decent as that tightly-written masterpiece.

Over the past week, I have tried my hardest to get back into the swing of things with my writing. It has been difficult, though, because I’ve been overwhelmed with doubt about my own abilities. I’ve never been very good at plotting, so I’m obsessing over the fact that I can’t effectively plot out my most recent project idea. That’s stopping me from getting anything done, unfortunately. If I want to get back into writing, I have to somehow leap over the self-doubt hump that’s blocking my way.

When in doubt, Hermione Granger might go to the library. When in doubt, I surf the Internet and see what others have written. In my web-surfing, I found an article on the website Write to Done, in which writer Jon Bard offers the following advice:

“Write for yourself. Write because it’s fun. Write because it’s an area of your life you can control utterly and completely. Don’t judge your writing, and don’t ask others to judge it for you. Don’t worry whether anyone else will ever see what you write. Just be a writer.”

So, I’m going to try to take this particular advice to heart and put it into practice in my own writing life. I hope that you do the same. If you’re struggling with self-doubt concerning your writing, leave a comment here with something that helps you overcome that doubt. Happy writing!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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