Acknowledgment shines brightest on those who truly need it.
I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I’m questioning it more and more lately. The vision is hazier on some days. I guess today is cloudy. Visualization vs. Reality vs. I’m several degrees of knowledge behind… Today is a good day to order pizza.
Have you ever thought this, or something like it? Ever had a self-deprecating day like this? Days of it? Days that stretched on into weeks, months, or even years?
Welcome to the club. You’re not alone. We all have, and it’s not just writers; I’m pretty sure it’s a human thing. If we’re experts at anything, second-guessing ourselves is definitely at the top of the boomerang-defeatist-things-we-do list. It sucks, doesn’t feel very good, but it’s normal. I’d be more concerned about the ones who never question themselves. A certain amount of self-doubt is healthy for us, I think. It keeps the humble bank well-padded.
A big part of the problem is that we often compare ourselves to others. I don’t think there is a cure for this; it’s another one of those ‘human things’ (the human condition) which probably has a lot to do with how we evolved and how we’ll continue to do so.
The trick is to recognize what we’re doing: the measuring of ourselves against the success of another. Recognition of these base emotions we call envy and jealousy is the key to defeating them—let it in, allow yourself to feel it, then let it go.
Repeat this every day:
I am my biggest fan.
I am my harshest critic.
I’ve got my back when no one else is willing,
And I will throw the first rotten tomato whether I deserve it or not.
It’s me I gotta please: first, foremost, and last.
If I accomplish this,
Then the rest is gravy.
Linguistic splinters of the literary mind.
Sometimes a new round of self-doubt follows a negative critiquing or a scathing review of our work. For some writers, this is not a problem—perhaps their hides are made of crocodile skin. I personally do not have a thick hide, not at first anyway. Mine thickens with time; it matures like cheese, ages like wine. Some people are impervious to negativity, others are even empowered by it, as though it comes naturally for them, and I do envy that at times. I don’t like thinking of myself as a sensitive flower, but the truth is that I am, at least a little bit.
Writing is often a lonely road to travel, and I do think it’s important that writers support each other. Support and encouragement, particularly in the early stages of endeavoring to write, is like the fuel to keep going. When self-doubt plagues us – even when later on in our established writing endeavors and careers – support and encouragement from like-minded individuals act like a safety net to catch us from falling into a pit of perceived failure which often leads to the mindset of wanting to give up. In summation: It is the support and encouragement from our fellow ‘writer-colleagues’, from beginning to end, that sustains us and our futures as authors. It provides a sustainable future following along a yellow brick road that meanders to a castle of success.