This guest post is by Miriam Nicholson. Miriam is an avid reader, a passionate writer, and a dreamer. You can find more of her writing in the recent comments posts The Write Practice or her latest guest posts here. You can also email her at mysticalmiriam(at)gmail.com. Welcome back, Miriam!

Deep within every writer’s heart lives a monster. It grows from neglect and thrives off of doubt. It controls you. It frightens you, and yet you hope that it will not defeat you.

monster that lives

Every writer has the sword of success to fight this dragon, because every little success and self-satisfaction that we get in our writing delivers a blow to that beast.

Every word that is written cuts it, every chapter you complete frightens it and because of its fear it wishes to do anything and everything in its power to stop you. It’s a desperate little beggar, one that fears our success. It wishes to make us put up boundaries against ourselves so that we can feel the fear that it does, and stop our progression.

Who Is this Monster?

This monster reminds me of me deep inside. At the center of my writer’s heart there lives a fear, one that prevents me from writing and makes me question my work. It has held me in its power for two years, held captive yet I knew nothing of being so held.

The monster of self-doubt that I mentioned above reminds me of a mother hen. It wants to shelter us, and overprotect us, preventing us from getting hurt. Wanting to keep us in our bubble where nothing bad can happen. It wants us to be afraid of rejection so that we never reach out ourselves.

How do we overcome this monster of self-doubt? How do we accomplish the thing that we need to? How do we do what we love?

What this Monster has Done to Me

If you read my previous blog post, you will know that I was bullied from sixth grade to high school. This experience unintentionally started my career of a writer.

From seventh to ninth grade, I started the first draft of my novel and finished it. I hadn’t thought of what people would think of it or if it would amount to anything. In my mind it was perfect. I had written a novel!

I put it away for a time and the idea developed from there. Only one thing was wrong with this development, I had stopped writing anything. Unknowing, I began to grow my monster, every day it got bigger and bigger. I noticed nothing about this till I picked back up my first draft.

A new voice had come to my head, one bluntly criticizing my work. I agreed with it thinking, “Oh, this is only my first attempt. It’s OK to criticize myself on this draft.”

But now I can’t form a daily writing habit. On bad writing days I can’t write anything because I simply keep deleting them thinking, “This just doesn’t sound right!” even though there is nothing wrong with the words.

How do I fix this problem? How do I ignore what I’ve become accustomed to? How do I become a writer again?

Things I am Doing to Help With Doubt

I don’t have the one solution that fixes everything, but I do have things I’m starting to do every day to become better.

Meditate for Fifteen Minutes

I am starting to meditate every day for fifteen minutes which I find helps clear my head. During this time I empty my mind and try to keep my breathing as regular as possible. If I have any thoughts about things I need to do that day, things I’m stressing over, or doubts on my writing or self I tell myself ‘Don’t worry about it right now, now is your alone time,’ and I continue.

Write Every Day

Yes, as you can imagine, this is one that I have a ton of trouble with, but here’s what I’m doing to help myself get better.

  1. Write your minimum number of words per day. This helps me personally, because I need to have a goal in place to help me stayed focused. Pick a word count that you feel you can write at least every day and go from there. Increase it when you feel you can until you have comfortable amount.
  2. Take you’re writing slow. Maybe Fast First Drafts aren’t for you, no one said that you had to write super-fast to be a writer. If you can focus better writing slow then go for it! After all, every novel is written one word at a time.
  3. Don’t let ANYONE tell you how to write your book. Just as every person is different, so is every writer’s style different. Don’t base how good of a writer you are off of someone else. If you are proud of your work than that is enough. After all, one of the most important person we write for is ourselves.

Doubt is a Monster

Doubt gets the best of us. It attacks us and deteriorates our confidence. It even stops aspiring authors like me from writing anything for two years. We can battle it by writing every day, meditating, taking our writing slow and following our own voice.

People are going to disagree with you, they are going to push you down and laugh at you. You are going to get rejected by publishers, and criticized when you do get published by those who are not worth your writing.

It’s OK. We all go through this as writers, its overcoming these that gets us published. If you are going through doubt, procrastination, or simply think that there is no way you can write a book, I’d urge you to try some of the suggestions above. Write every day, even if it is only a sentence or two. Habits are formed by repetition.

You ARE a writer and you WILL make a difference in the world, even if you only touch one person. Let us defeat doubt together, one day at a time.

What about you? Have you ever been so struck with doubt that you stopped writing? What do you do to overcome your doubt?

PRACTICE

Here we have three whole options for you!

Option 1: Meditate for fifteen minutes as directed above. After those fifteen minutes, write about how it made you feel and how it can apply to your writing.

Option 2: Choose a word count goal that you’d like to accomplish today and fulfill it! After your done share with us in the comments a piece of that writing.

Option 3: Try to write as slow as you can to get your brain flowing. Create your best work by writing this way and share with us in the comments section.

Happy Writing!