Don’t you love it?
Well it sure loves you. It must, since it’s hanging around so often, whispering sweet nothings in your ear when you try to focus. Try to write. Try to plan.
You’re a terrible writer. People will judge you. Do you even know what you’re doing?
Or whatever that voice tells you.
Mine usually jumps to the worst-case scenario immediately. It never starts small like, “Your friends will judge you.”
It starts about a hundred and seven steps past that.
My first thought is something like, “Holy shit! You’ll be sixty-seven years old with a stack of half-completed manuscripts and half-completed dreams piling and seeping out of the hall closet, behind Christmas decorations and other seasonal oddities you never touch. Pudge lopping out of your gym shorts. Children who are taught to recite: ‘I’m sure this book will be the one, Dad!’ in an effort to ebb the nagging self-doubt that’s crippled for so long.”
Yeah, that’s about my first thought. If you haven’t found this out yet, I’m super dramatic. I doubt your first reaction is that dark and that specific.
We all have self-doubt. Whether it’s as dark and specific as mine, or if it’s a fear that your agent will dump you after her first read of your manuscript… doesn’t matter what it’s saying.
But it does matter what the hell you’re gonna do about it. You’re not going to let that voice boss you around, are you?
Your thoughts shape your beliefs. And your beliefs shape your reality. Think toxic thoughts long enough, and you’ll become toxic.
Here’s how to kick self-doubt in the ass.
- Reframe your mind. You cannot eliminate that voice from coming back. But you can change the way you receive it. Instead of thinking of it as speaking your future over you or your inevitable demise, recognize it for what it is — fear and lies. Move past it. Speak truth over yourself in courage. Claim something higher for yourself and believe for it.
- Recognize what’s realistic and unrealistic. If your self-doubt is that you’ll get a rejection letter from a publisher one day… sorry to break it to you, but that’s realistic thinking. However, if your self doubt is saying that out of all the publishers out there, no one will like your drivel. That’s unrealistic. I’m sure someone will like your drivel.
- Take small steps. A win, no matter how small, will give you momentum that can carry you on towards your next win. It’s a snowball effect.
- Don’t live by someone else’s goals. Example: someone you know writes 2,000 words a day so you feel like that needs to be your goal. Do whatever works for you.
- Surround yourself with support. Sometimes you need to hear someone say, “I believe in you!” I know I need that every now and then. More now than then of course.
Don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t work immediately. It takes time to reframe your mind. You have to train your thoughts in a healthy way. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, it takes 7 minutes per day for about 21 days to solidify a thought in your mind into a more permanent state or reaction to something you habitually think about in a negative way.
So meditate on something positive for 7 minutes a day that goes right in the face of your doubts.
Dare for something greater. Or collapse into something lesser.
Question of the day: Am I crazy for dealing with self-doubt? How has it affected you?