Making it as a writer is hard.
Writers place so much expectation on themselves these days. They want to make it and want to make it fast, and this leads to them setting goals that could be seen as a little far-fetched. Sure, there are some writers out there who got one book deal and sky-rocketed to instant fame and fortune. But we’re sorry to tell you: that’s not the norm. It’s far from it in fact.
The truth of the matter is: most writers get published and hardly see a dime. There’s a statistic out there somewhere that suggests on average, a traditionally published debut novelist rakes in around £2,000. Sure, that sounds pretty sweet. But for what is essentially a year’s worth of work? Hmm, not so much…
That’s the harsh reality, but it’s these famous stories of writers making it right away that bring self-doubt upon many up-and-comers. And what’s the extent of this self-doubt? Well it comes in many different forms and sizes, and unfolds for many different reasons. But for the most part, it all comes down to human nature.
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The Toughest Part Of Self-Doubt
It’s human nature. That’s just it.
At its most basic form, self-doubt is something humans are born with; something that develops as the years go by. This is the same with anything in life – not just in writing. You’re entering a cooking competition? Well you can’t possibly beat X, they’re too good. Running a race at a charity event? You won’t win, X is much faster. Just bought a flashy new car? Well it’s not as good as X’s.
No matter what we do or achieve in life, we’ll always come back and find a way to doubt our abilities. The first step towards becoming better as a writer is all to do with recognising this. The sooner you realise that you’re going to hate everything you write, the sooner you can get to work on making it better.
Self-doubt is human nature. Giving in to it is a choice.
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But How Do I Combat It?
That’s the thing: you don’t. You just learn to live with it.
Self-doubt and self-hatred will always come and go, and they’ll never fully leave you no matter how much you achieve in life. Just ask any successful person if they still doubt themselves sometimes, and if they’re telling the truth, their answer will be yes.
People who are successful in writing aren’t that way because they never doubted their work, they’re successful because they never let their self-doubt stop them from putting in the work.
The successful writer doesn’t cry or moan about their work not being good enough, they just put in the hours until it is. They don’t let their self-doubt stop them from rewriting, or from staying up late to finish the chapter, or from moving onto the next project. They just work. They just write.
Write. Edit. Believe. Achieve. That is your new mantra. Whenever self-doubt pushes its way into your brain, you just push it right back out again. That’s the only secret here. When self-doubt strikes, make sure you strike harder.
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Just Push On Regardless
That’s how it’s done. You just push your doubts aside and write on regardless. That’s how successful writers combat their doubts, and that’s how you will too. It builds character and it builds strength – two things you’ll definitely need if you want to make it in this game.
Just remember – even J.K Rowling hates her first drafts…
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