Does self-doubt consume you?
This is first post in this series explained what my inspiration was for writing my first novel while in Afghanistan. The I posted about learning How do you Write a Book?
But what happens when you start to second guess yourself?
The first week of December 2010 I had written over 27K words of my first manuscript and began to panic. Was I really going to do this? Could I really write a book? Who am I? I’m just some Soldier. I have no training on how to write a book. What if I’m just wasting my time? Maybe I should get some help? My mind began to spin as these self-doubting thoughts filled my brain.
Those that write know this already: all writers have self-doubt about their work. Yes, even the likes of Steven King, J.K. Rowling, Nelson DeMille, etc have faced self- doubt about their writing. Heck, Karl Marlantes the author of the New York Times best-selling novel Matterhorn faced 30 years of rejection before someone took a chance on him.
Of course I was in Afghanistan when my panic attack occurred and didn’t know any of this. At this point I had zero knowledge about the writing industry. I just knew I had a good idea and the discipline and drive to do something with my idea. So I reached out to try and find some guidance.
I thought to myself maybe I need a writing coach. So once again I did what we all do when we want to learn more. I Googled writing coaches and settled on two folks and contacted them. Lisa Tener was the first person I contacted. Lisa told me my novel concept was compelling, but she didn’t handle fiction. She recommended I contact Ginger Moran who is an award-winning author, writing coach and editor. At the time I was also talking to a Cindy Shearer who is a writing coach and editor.
After a considerable amount of email traffic with Cindy and Ginger I learned a couple things:
- Yes, a knucklehead like me can write a book.
- My idea is compelling and fresh.
- I’m on the right path. Stop overthinking and just write the first draft.
Cindy and Ginger gave me some great guidance. If it’s in your head, then put it on paper. You can work everything out later. With their words of wisdom I went back to work writing diligently before work every morning and brainstorming throughout the day.
Sure, I still have self-doubt about my writings. When you put yourself out there it leaves you open to rejection. I can tell you first hand, rejection stinks. But what is worse than rejection? Allowing that fear of rejection to paralyze you, being too afraid to try. I’m not going to let the fear of the unknown scare me. Fear won’t keep me huddled around the warmth of the fire.
After all this, I know who I am. I’m a Soldier in the United States Army with real life experience who writes about what I know. I do it for folks like you.
What have you accomplished when you overcame your self-doubt?
What dreams have your allowed your self-doubt to stifle?
Do you have experience you’d like to tell the world?
What’s stopping you?
Click here to subscribe and receive my weekly blog posts directly to your email. You don’t want to miss a thing!