Self doubt. One simple phrase that packs a huge punch and can single-handedly destroy your dreams.
How many times have you set out to take on the world, or at least your little corner of it? Maybe you wanted to lose weight, improve your health, learn a new language, go back to school, begin a new career… just to name a few common objectives.
You were energized and motivated… determined. You had a vision, laid out an aggressive but manageable plan, and charged ahead full steam.
Did you succeed? Or did that cynical voice inside make you doubt yourself? You’re not good enough. You can’t do it. Why waste your time? You’re never gonna make it. Did you let it win?
I struggle with self doubt… a lot. Right now, it’s got the upper hand.
Last week I shared with you my eye-opening experience of the dangers of sleep deprivation. (click here if you missed it) I’ve adjusted my lifestyle, and I’m sleeping more. Which means I have less time to write and work on everything related to writing.
Less time means I need to work harder, right? But there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. Each night, I find myself slipping a few minutes closer to my old pattern of working into the night. I’m afraid to push myself, so my drive to succeed is stuck in idle.
To further complicate the situation, I have a day job that I… loathe, abhor, despise; and recent changes have made it downright oppressive. I cope, five days a week, by blocking out my surroundings and shutting down my emotions. It gets me through each day, but it’s become a burden. Worse, I’ve allowed it to affect my overall happiness and creativity, even beyond the work week.
The ideas for my story are in my head, but they won’t come out. Part of my writing process requires me to connect emotionally with my characters, and I can’t do that when my emotions are locked away. My jumbled thoughts that manage to make it to the page are a mess, and trying to organize them sometimes seems impossible.
There’s always plenty of other things that need to be done, so I try to make the most of my nonproductive time. My author platform is still under construction, and I have social media accounts to maintain. Blogging, networking, and learning about the business all take time and need my attention. And, of course, my critique partners always have plenty of chapters waiting for me to review.
I feel like I’m the only one not accomplishing something.
You’re not good enough. You can’t do it. Why waste your time? You’re never gonna make it. The voice of self doubt appears to be right.
My book won’t be published by the end of this year, a huge disappointment for me. I failed at every turn, fell short on every goal I set for myself. And, I’ve come to realize that writing will, most likely, only ever be a hobby for me.
I love to write. I know I can write a decent story… eventually. But, I don’t believe I will ever be successful enough to make a living doing what I love. I can’t begin to tell you how painful that is for me to admit. It’s hard to accept, and I don’t want to.
My oldest son was home to visit this weekend. As always, he asked how my book is coming along. My response earned me a brief lecture about not giving up—basically telling me to get my act together, keep working, and quit being so hard on myself. (along with some other harsh truths) He ended by saying, “I’m telling you the same thing you told me when I was struggling.”
My own words used against me…
So, what do I do now? I honestly don’t know how proceed, but I don’t want to give up on my dream. I can’t. I’ve never wanted anything more. Guess I need to get my act together.
Self doubt. One simple phrase that packs a huge punch and can single-handedly destroy your dreams. Don’t let this happen to you!.
I’m off to take my own advice and stop it from stopping me. –CJ
Read previous posts on my writing journey, Inside the Mind of a Writer.