How Writers Can Use Self-Doubt To Their Advantage

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How Writers Can Use Self Doubt To Their Advantage

Everyone says that confidence is a make-it-or-break-it trait. A lack of confidence shows in everything that you do. It is as if people can see the “L” for loser branded on your forehead. If you don’t have confidence, you’re doomed. You’ll likely never reach your goals, you’ll never amount to the success you’ve been trying to reach.

Lack of confidence is generally considered a weakness. But, I would have to disagree, at least in the assumption that timidity is always a bad thing. There are Alpha personalities in any profession that can “Babe Ruth” it by proclaiming they’re going to hit the ball out of the park, and then do exactly that. They can say it was their confidence that got them to the top of their game. Or, it was “positive thinking” that helped them to manifest their desires. Many people take a chapter out of “The Secret” and use its theory that one’s thoughts directly impact one’s successes in life, love, and career. The book is now a cult classic with self-help junkies.

Yes, positive thinking helps and, yes, many people firmly believe that there is “no such thing as luck” because hard work is what equals success. And they very well may have a point. Hard work has been used by many over the centuries to realize the “American Dream.” Remember though, not everyone has been born with the same circumstances, resources, or opportunities. That doesn’t mean that the impossible can’t be done. There are plenty of rags-to-riches stories and self-made millionaires and billionaire. So, it stands to reason, all it should take for a writer to obtain success is to always remain positive, to never fall into a state if self-doubt or self-loathing or depression of course…for some of us sensitive writers prone to mood instabilities.

How Writers Can Use Self Doubt To Their AdvantageIf your Alpha level leads you to “Babe Ruth” many things in life and you have all of the trophies to prove it, great. I’m really happy for you…and no, I’m not being facetious. Dream boards are highly popular, for instance. Goals are important to have and are necessary to write down. Visualizing your success is a tool that the world’s best athletes, artists, and CEOs swear by.

Nevertheless, many of us are unable to claim we are going to hit the jackpot, and then actually do it. Many others visualize their success and strive to manifest their destiny, only to swing and miss the ball, altogether.

At the end of the day, unless you’re a robot, self-doubt is a very natural human emotion. Sometimes we create something, and our gut tells us it’s fantastic, but more times than we’d like to count, doubt creeps in and makes us question our abilities and ourselves. Before you go thinking that this is a bad thing, try to use self-doubt to serve your highest good. Embracing what appears to be a negative emotion might feel counter-productive at first, but it’s a healthy step towards managing your ego.

There is nothing wrong with being confident and even taking it a step farther toward bragging. Just don’t take it too far. We all know someone who has. It’s the same with ingesting too much self-doubt. You can allow it to cripple you and make you immobile. It’s a balance creative people, and especially writers must find, to walk a fine line between self-flagellation and embracing self-doubt as a motivator.

The Bottom Line:

Feeling inadequate about our abilities and ourselves is nothing to get excited about, but see it as a personal growth opportunity. Shift perspective. Some of the most talented and successful people experience self-doubt. It’s a human emotion. How we handle our insecurities and fear of failure is what determines the outcome. Do we fight the fire of self-doubt, or do we walk through it and come out the other side? I say it’s okay to feel insecure about your craft as a writer and have questions about whether or not your work is any “good.” We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t doubt ourselves or experience some form of imposter syndrome.

I think it’s okay to be uncertain about whether or not you’ll get that book deal, or if anyone, other than your family and friends, will buy your book. While we can’t foresee the future, all we can do is put our best efforts in our craft. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to other “successful” published authors who may have gotten to their goals at a much younger age, sold more books, etc. We can certainly read more books and learn from the greats. We can push past negative thoughts, and be okay if we are not always exuding confidence. It’s okay to fail, too. The world’s most successful people have failed and failed miserably, often multiple times, before they got things right.

What’s most important is getting back up again, getting out of bed the next day, rolling up our sleeves, staring beyond the blank page, and putting proverbial pen to paper. Self-doubt keeps us humble and helps us fully appreciate our wins. A little humility is not such a bad thing, after all.

How Writers Can Use Self Doubt To Their Advantage



22 thoughts on “How Writers Can Use Self-Doubt To Their Advantage

    D.A. Dave said:
    April 23, 2019 at 6:24 AM

    I really love this post. Very encouraging. Thank you, Sonyo! And thank you for following me! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      April 23, 2019 at 9:16 AM

      Thank you for reading. I think most of us writers need encouragement. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        D.A. Dave said:
        April 23, 2019 at 9:18 PM

        You got that right! 🙂 I like the site address of your blog, too.

        Liked by 1 person

    thereluctantpoet said:
    April 23, 2019 at 5:11 PM

    Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Rayne said:
    April 26, 2019 at 10:12 AM

    Excellent post! Valuable for lots of things in life, not just writing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      May 2, 2019 at 5:27 PM

      Thank you, Rayne, as someone who deals with depression + the creative process…it’s an uphill battle. Self-doubt plagues most of us who can admit to it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Leslie M. Levy said:
    April 26, 2019 at 4:46 PM

    I loved reading this article on your blog! I’m excited to meet you at the writing conference of LA next Saturday!

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      May 2, 2019 at 5:24 PM

      I’m looking forward to meeting you at the L.A. Writing Conference. Feel free to pitch to me.


    Mylene Orillo said:
    May 1, 2019 at 1:21 AM

    I can totally feel you. What’s nice is how you get back up again. Nice to read your post today.

    Liked by 1 person

    Leslie Levy said:
    May 2, 2019 at 3:19 PM

    Wanted to offer a heartfelt thank you for this post. I just re-read it after experiencing some high anxiety and self-doubt, just prior to Saturday’s event–it really helped! As soon as I read your comment about getting back up being the tough and necessary step, I realized that that’s what I had to do. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      May 2, 2019 at 5:00 PM

      I experience anxiety and self-doubt all the time. I’ve had rejections from publishers, and it’s been hard. Our industry is so subjective, and as writers, our work is scrutinized by agents and then by publishers and then by readers who may or may not leave a good review on Goodreads, Amazon, and etc. We all want to be that one where we sore to the top of the NY Times best sellers and get nothing but 5-star reviews. At the end of the day, self-loathing and doubts are normal human emotions. It’s just a matter of not letting it sink us, because it can. Keep your head up, all we can do is take it one step at a time, one day at a time. The creative process is emotionally taxing but can be rewarding.

      Liked by 1 person

    Opinionated Man said:
    May 15, 2019 at 4:30 PM

    I like the spirit! I’ve been having to give myself similar pep talks lately. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reverie said:
    June 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM your post is great. Having self doubt lower our self-esteem and we can stop believing in our selves, my post are inspirational and motivational

    Liked by 1 person

    thequittingmillennial said:
    June 15, 2019 at 7:17 PM

    Writing for me it’s cathartic… connecting ideas, researching and editing, it all satiates my need for creativity in a way few things do. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    malisehoney said:
    July 6, 2019 at 2:11 PM

    Great encouraging post, I haven’t posted in a while and I would really appreciate your thoughts and feedback on my new piece ‘family’ 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    […] via How Writers Can Use Self-Doubt To Their Advantage […]


    Matt Tripp said:
    September 14, 2019 at 6:34 PM

    You’re a brilliant writer. Never stop.

    Liked by 1 person

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