Life is a battlefield (I know Pat Benatar said it was LOVE, but let’s get real). If you’re living the writing life, there are specific battles to face. And win.
In this case, it doesn’t matter if you write magazine articles or enter flash fiction contents. If your work in progress is a nonfiction self-help book or a fantasy novel, you will fight these battles.
I’m not a fan of generalizations. When people use “every” or “all”, I immediately search for the exception to the rule.
There always is one.
Except. Did you notice the word “always” there? Doesn’t that make this another generalization?
Meaning there is an exception to that rule, too.
As far as living a writer’s life, I’ve found it. Every single writer I’ve spoken with has battled on the field of doubt, insecurity and rejection. What about you?
Am I the best person to pen this book?
No one will ever read this.
I should get a real job because I’m no good at writing/don’t have the right connections.
The litany of self-doubt could continue for pages and pages. I know because almost every day I sit down to write, the negative voice in my head spews something vile that makes me question if I’m a writer.
If you have a story to tell, you should tell it.
If you’ve overcome a challenge, others facing the same challenge need to hear how you did it.
Most of us have a few cheerleaders in our lives. Some of us didn’t have one when we were young and that means we formed a choir of negative self-talk.
The good news? You can retrain your brain. Make a list of positive affirmations. Record them. Listen to them daily until the doubt ebbs.
When it rears its head, bring the affirmations out again.
Doubt is a sneak that doesn’t admit defeat. When we stumble, doubt says, “See? I told you you couldn’t do it.”
But you can win the war against doubt, one battle at a time.
Recognize the lies for what they are. Replace them with what is true.
Failure isn’t final…unless we quit.
Who told me I could write?
My writing isn’t good enough.
What if my readers think this book is horrible?
I figured once a press published my stories, the voice of insecurity would fade. After all, a publisher with a pile of submissions picked my work out of the mess. Right?
Except I published with small indie presses. And the first one didn’t have a ton of submissions. The second one published work that I didn’t think was that great (and since paying for editing was the author’s responsibility, not always cleanly written).
Maybe these presses weren’t the gatekeepers I expected to permit only excellent stories into the published realm.
If you get a bad review, it’s easy for insecurity to chain your creativity. That’s why many authors choose not to read reviews.
Reading pleasure is subjective. Plenty of books I didn’t like at all have hundreds of positive reviews. Your stories will be the same.
To overcome insecurity, work with other writers or an editor who can help you find the weaknesses in your story before you send it out or publish it. Choose these wisely, too, because some people don’t know how to offer criticism without being critical. And harsh words can fuel insecurity even more.
If you overcome your doubt and security, you’ll still face the last battlefield: rejection.
You submit and hear nothing. You query and get no response. So you do it all again.
Finally, someone responds. You’re excited, but it’s clear from the three-line message that it isn’t an acceptance letter.
Rejection strikes again.
Every writer faces it and will need to persevere in the face of it to become a published author. You’ve heard the stories of Stephen King’s wall of rejection letters and Rowling’s hundreds of the same.
Most of the time, those stories don’t comfort me. It still hurts when something I spend hours, days, weeks and months working on is dismissed without so much as a form letter.
A few times, the rejection has included hints of what didn’t work for the publisher, editor or agent. I’ve even reworked stories and sent them out to the next name on my list.
Maybe you plan to self-publish, so you think you’ll avoid rejection’s hard hits. But to promote your work, you’ll need to contact influencers and some of them may ignore your requests or turn you down.
Slow sales feels like another form of rejection. People are buying books but not my book. And the circle of doubt and insecurity starts again.
Part of being a writer is developing battle plans to fight these enemies. It takes time to develop a thick skin against rejection. A focused effort is required to believe affirmations in the face of doubt. Success might quell insecurity but it’s best to fight it with a team of supporters.
Which of these are you struggling with?
My writing coach talks me off the ledge during these battles. Maybe I can do the same for you.
Click here to meet with me in a FREE discovery session. Don’t become a casualty on the battlefield of doubt, insecurity or rejection.