Writer’s Insecurities

It’s so easy to allow doubt to creep in when you’ve never been a confident person.

“Words are, of course the most powerful drug used by Mankind.”

Rudyard Kipling. Speech, 14th February 1923

Writing has encouraged me out of my comfort zone and to be relaxed around other people. I’ve learnt to take chances, and to stand centre stage. Gill James of Bridge House Publishing had, until the virus put a stop to it, run two book launches a year in London. At the venue she encourages her writers to read excerpts of their stories aloud.

Though I’m nervous about standing in front of an audience to read, I always push myself to do it. I never want to regret not having a go. It’s too easy to stand back my life and allow self-doubt to overtake your life.

Yesterday just as I was getting ready for bed, I checked my Ipad and discovered a review for my single collection, Days Pass Like A Shadow by the reviewer on the webpage, The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviewer. Their five page review left me speechless as they commented on all thirteen stories in my collection.

This morning I printed up the review so that I had prove that it is real and not just my imagination.

Why is it we are always so ready to believe in the negative comments than positive ones?

I suspected I’m not the only one who suffers from endless self-doubt. There’s a name for it, Impostor Syndrome.

One doubt’s one’s accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud. You incorrectly attribute your success to luck rather than believing you have gain your achievement through hard work, dedication and determination or even talent. I think my impostor Syndrome maybe left over from my school days. No matter how hard I worked I could never get good results.

When I found the review on Twitter last night I sat on my office floor, read it and wept. My husband read it to me as we lay in bed. I kept getting him to repeat parts of it so I could fully absorb the review. This morning when I woke I thought I had dreamt it.

Maybe self-doubt is a good thing to have as it will kept me grounded and on my toes. A quick Google throws up some interesting quotes from well-known writers who all still suffer from self- doubt. Stephen King writes about it in his book On Writing. Neil Gaiman is another well-known author as to is Margaret Atwood. She says “You are not alone. Don’t permit yourself to be ambushed. Keats wasn’t killed by a bad review. Get back on the horse that threw you.”

Whether it is the fear of failure, bad reviews, or not feeling quite good enough, we must remember all writers go through the same rollercoaster ride of emotions. It’s what keeps us writing.

“The only demand I make of my reader is that he devote his whole life to reading my works.”

James Joyce, novelist

Be kind to yourself, when self-doubt comes knock. Remember, we’re all in the same boat.

Have a great weekend. Chat soon,

The Writing Slut xx

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