The Battle of Doubt

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How many times have you seen a friend become elated that they finished their book, signed a contract, or just self published? I’m guessing it’s quite a few. I know for me it’s in the hundreds, if not thousands by now. There’s a little piece of you that dies when this happens isn’t there? Is this you? Or have you broken the barrier of self doubt and pushed through? We all have good and bad days. Some are just a lot worse than others.

I want to talk today about self doubt. It’s not doubt in your story, your abilities, or even doubt that you can’t reach your goal. It’s bigger than that. It’s when you start to thinking … if I don’t finish, then I can’t fail. The problem with this is if you never finish, then you can’t succeed either. Are you defeating yourself in your own goals? This happens to many people who start a novel and never finish.

How many times have you heard that the writing industry is practically impossible to break in into? I’m guessing you’ve pondered this daily. I think the biggest problem in writing today isn’t the business itself, but the authors. Let me take you on a journey–One you may know quite well. Some of you lucky people have beat the odds and moved pass this barrier. Some have not.

I’m talking about the writer’s journey–Your path to publication. Have you ever wondered what’s holding you back? It could be your time management, family distractions, job vs. writing time, getting quality feedback, or even the bigger problem–What if you do everything possible to “make it”, and fail?

Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies in our path to publication. We think we’re going to fail before we even get started. This is a dangerous train of thought if you think you’re trying to reach your goal. This destroys any of your progress and a battle between you and yourself ensues. The outcome sometimes isn’t good.

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Battle of Rejection

– What if I spend years editing, learning, molding myself and the rejection just keeps beating down my door?

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Battle of Critics

-What if I finally publish and then everyone sees what a hack I am and reviews my book as not even worth the paper it’s printed on?

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Battle of the Eternities

-What if… the reasons go on forever? They do, don’t they?

 

How do you break out of all the self doubt to win the war? Here are a few thoughts I’ve had recently that help the situation. Focus on the important things.

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Step 1:  Forget your goals.

Seriously! File those goals far away in your head. Love your story and the world you’ve created. Everything else needs to fade into the woodwork of thought. Spend your time playing and enjoying your writing. The more time you spend in your world, the better. Self doubt doesn’t have time to creep in when you’re busy having fun. Enjoy your writing and the passion will show in your product.

Step 2:  Block out other writers’ struggles and accomplishments.

Don’t compare yourself to someone else. No two stories are alike, just like no two authors are alike. Your journey will never be the same as someone else’s. Don’t get emotionally charged by other people’s news either positive or negative. I’m not saying you can’t rejoice in friends’ accomplishments or have sympathy in their failures, just don’t let others emotions dictate your own self outlook.

Step 3:  Regroup.

If there are problems in your personal life hindering your progress, take a serious look at how you can find balance. If you aren’t happy, it’s going to show in your writing. Be honest and look at the whole picture. It will help you make hard choices.

In writing we’re our own worst enemies. Forget about the things that fog your path. Look for the beauty surrounding you while you’re there. In any story we want to enjoy the journey as a reader. Why not do the same as a writer? It’s time to forget about the real world and dive into yours. It’s much more fun anyways…

Jennifer Bennett

About Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer J. Bennett was born in Southern California as the youngest of six children. Her imagination began to develop as a child creating worlds in her backyard. Books have always played a big role in her life; favorites growing up were “The Country Bunny” by Dubose Heyward, “The Light in the Attic”by Shel Silverstein, and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’ Dell among many, many others. She also enjoys music, theater, travel, and cooking.

Jennifer moved from Southern California in 1989 and finished high school in Southern Utah where she met her husband Matthew Bennett who currently works in educational administration. They reside in St. George, Utah with four amazing kids: Haylee, Chase, Conner, and Libby. After her father was diagnosed with cancer, she began writing her first novel, “The Path”. Her father encouraged her to move forward with her writing and she has continued since. He passed away in 2009.

Jen, as her friends call her; can be found buzzing around California from time to time in search of magical elements from the past. She tries to balance fun, being a mom, and trying to be a grownup (which she really isn’t sure she ever wants to be).

Visit Jen’s blog at: http://www.jjbennett.com/

1 comments
Holly Hereth Kelly
Holly Hereth Kelly

This is such a true and insightful article. I know, I lived it. I was plagued with doubt. Anytime I thought about other people reading my book, I got so scared I would start to shake-it even assaulted me in the form of nightmares. I considered self-publishing, but I was afraid of being humiliated when people found out how terrible my book was. The thing that kept me going was the fact that I loved my book. I just wasn't sure anyone else would. But I pushed through it, got published, and found others who love my book almost as much as me. If your going through a similar struggle, push through it. Don't let your doubts rob you of your success.