I was my own worst enemy.
I had a really bad habit of sabotaging myself as a writer. Just when I saw a bit of traction in my writing, I would stop for a few days, weeks, even months once I’ve gotten more readers, more comments, more engagement with my stories and articles.
I lost my motivation to write.
I succumbed to writer’s block.
I gave in to fear and doubt.
I just stopped.
I was destroying my own dream of writing before it even started.
I’m ashamed to say this went on for a long time and I’ve endured, created, countless cycles of ups and downs for myself where I don’t really fail but I also never actually succeed.
This year, I’ve definitely been more consistent but it took me a long time to figure out why I did this and whenever I look back, 3 questions always plagued my mind:
Who Am I To Write This?
There are so many experts out there, people with more experience, successful bloggers and authors.
Who am I to write my story and share my own experiences when I am nowhere as good as the “professional” writers?
The words fraud and amateur will usually make an appearance when I ask myself this. This happens to me every time I write a new story or blog post. The feeling of being an amateur or a fraud always creeps in.
There are already so many great stories out there written by so many great writers, I didn’t feel like I was worthy to share my own version of the same story.
But we don’t have the same story do we?
Their reality is not my reality and my story is not their story.
So yes, I should share my story. We all should. Even when we don’t feel like we have anything to share or worth sharing. Someone can learn from us, or at the very least, we can learn from our own stories.
So who am I to write my story?
Well I’m me and you’re you and that’s worth something.
Is This Really Me?
We could be grammatically correct, tell great stories, have awesome ideas but true writing lies in one thing.
We need to fully believe what we write.
I try to be as authentic as possible when I write because writing affords me the luxury of being fully me when I’m not able to truly be myself any other time. I’m not one to say whatever pops into my head. I’m in my head way too often and I sometimes keep quiet when I shouldn’t which makes me feel very inauthentic when I’m around others but writing allows me to voice my thoughts no matter how crazy they might seem.
I’m often facing an inner battle within myself. There is such a chasm between my writing life and how I am in person that I struggle to close the gap.
Writing helps me close that gap.
Do I Deserve All This Attention?
Some call it imposter syndrome, I call it not believing in myself. Like any writer, I love seeing views, reads, and comments but I do wonder if I deserve all the attention. Shying away from the spotlight is my speciality. I’d much rather be in the sidelines and listen than to stand up and speak.
I’m learning to let my readers decide the attention my words deserve and to stop deciding this for them.
There must be a reason that people read my words and I have to believe that they resonate with them in one way or another. Everyone deserves to be heard, our voices and stories. My voice is no different.
How can I stop sabotaging my own dream as a writer?
Sometimes self-belief isn’t enough. Self-belief takes a long time and until we get to that point of pure confidence in ourselves, we can’t just do nothing in the meantime.
Obviously, I’m a big advocate for writing.
But what do I do when my confidence is at a low?
I write anyway.
It could be in a journal or a draft I never publish. I write anyway.
Writing not only helps me process my thoughts but if I write long enough, the words will eventually flow and I don’t feel so much like a fraud.
When we write through the slumps and trudge up that hill anyway, there’s strength in that. It’s easy to give up, it’s not that easy to keep going when every part of your body tells you to stop.
Balance the drive to create and the need to consume
We need a balance between creating and consuming.
Creating all the time can wear us out and we feel like we have nothing more to share or even worthy of sharing because everything you wanted to say has been said. But we have a drive to create and that’s not something easily quelled.
And we shouldn’t silence that drive to create.
But in order to create, we need to consume.
It’s like putting our own mask on before trying to help those around us.
Read, go for a walk, take a class, or even watch TV or a movie. Anything that will make me feel rejuvenated again.
You never know where or when you find inspiration or courage. If it’s not in our own writing right now, there’s no shame in letting that inspiration come from someone else.
Revisit and rewrite your stories
It’s actually amazing how we can be our own source of inspiration just by rereading and rewriting our own stories. Looking back at old stories will show you how much you’ve grown and learned since writing them.
And there’s nothing wrong with rewriting our stories.
There will be some stories from our past that make us cringe but that just means we’ve grown. Then there will be some that will make you believe in yourself as a writer again, the ones that remind us why we’re writers.
I hate rollercoasters and yet I put myself on one everytime I see even an ounce of success. Not success like going viral but success in the simplest of forms?—?consistency and a growth in readers.
We all want to be successful but success can be scary especially if we’ve never truly experienced it with something that we’ve created. And we all have different ways to navigate it. Some of us quit before we can fail while others push aside the doubt and keep moving forward.
I’ve spent a long time running away from writing but I want to be in the latter group. I want to learn to navigate success rather than run away from it.
My voice deserves that chance and so does yours.
Because your words matter,