We’ve all been there, the moment in our daily lives, whether it be home, work, or family, where the ugly head of self-doubt makes us come to a screeching halt. As a writer I find it almost crippling. I can go from 60 to zero in a heartbeat. One moment, I’m writing along, enjoying my characters and the next moment that insidious little beast at the back of my brain rears its head and taunts me to immobility.
Combating that self-doubt has been a constant in my life since deciding to become a writer full time. It always shows up when I start contemplating marketing, book sales, or publishing in general. It doesn’t wait to strike when I’m actively working on marketing. No, it pops its ugly head when I least expect it. I’ll write a particular line or phrase that I like and that little voice is their telling me I’m a fool, a charlatan, what do I know about any of this?
It can be hard to tune out that voice. Like a cat with an empty food bowl, it will grow louder the longer you ignore it. So how do you cope with your inner imposter syndrome? How can you keep it from paralyzing you when you can’t ignore it? Here’s three things I do to overcome the fear and keep plodding on.
Acknowledge it. Don’t let it lurk in the back closet of your brain. Bring it out in the open. It’s like the creepy shadows in the corner of your childhood bedroom. When you shine a light on them, they become less menacing. Tell yourself it’s okay to feel the way you do. Give yourself permission to feel self-doubt. Remind yourself that everyone has these thoughts from time to time. The trick isn’t to deny they’re there, but to not let them stop you from doing what you want anyway. Take a step back from the big-picture and focus on the moment. Remember that every mountain is climbed one step at a time. Don’t get hung up on the distance, focus on the journey. I find that when my self-doubt pops in for a visit. Focusing on getting one word out at a time usually gets me through the road block. I tell myself to just type for thirty minutes. I set a timer on my phone and get to work. Most of the time, when the timer goes off, I’m well into the story and past the hurdle. I love being a writer. I love the creative freedom and the chance to explore new worlds and new people. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be, and yet, even I face my own imposter on an almost daily basis. No matter where you are in life or what you do, self-doubt will be there. It’s up to you to determine how much of a say in your life you give it.