How To Fix Writer's Doubt

When I was younger I wrote for hours every day, and I was very proud of every word. And whenever I didn't write, I didn't feel guilty about it, because I knew I was a good writer. I knew I was pretty brilliant, actually.

Now, as a full time film student trying to keep myself mentally healthy and have some sort of balance in my life, most of my writing I do for school.

And despite still writing for hours every day on different school projects, it doesn't ever feel like it's enough. I feel guilty, and whenever I sit down to try writing on a special passion project, it's just simply impossible to not feel like every word is the worst writing that has ever existed on planet earth.

So I stop writing, wallow in my feelings of worthlessness and self doubt, and when the guilt overtakes me, I try again. And so it continues, an endless circle of sadness.

When you're fourteen and writing your first full length novel, you believe that you know everything, and that whatever feedback you get, it's just because the reader doesn't fully understand you. Because you're BRILLIANT, right? You're an expert! What more is there to writing than proper grammar and punctuation, duh.

Well, turns out when you grow up and become more experienced as a human being and writer, you realize just how little you actually know and start questioning everything. It becomes very complicated. Suddenly, there's plot structure, filter words, tropes, cliches, sensitivity readers... And the 14-year-old inside you goes, WHAT!?

I've always been interested in how our minds work, even after all my psychology courses in high school, and every now and then I find myself reading long studies on behavioral psychology and why artists are the way we are.

I believe that it's a way to try to understand myself better, but I have realized that there's really no point, since I'm a confusing, crazy, walking contradiction.

But aanyway.

I don't feel brave enough to explain this phenomenon with my scattered brain in its current state, but there's a thing called the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which I think you'd benefit knowing about. So here's a video explaining it:

Based on this knowledge, how can you make yourself feel less doubtful or self conscious of your own writing?

You can be a better storyteller by continuing to learn and grow. But more importantly, by also being more aware of what it is that stops you from being creative and why.

Because it's clear that no matter how many hours you spend writing, your writing will still look like trash in your eyes, and you still can't stop feeling like you're completely worthless as a human being. The more knowledge and skill you have, the more you also know how much you don't know.

But maybe it's not the end of the world to feel like you suck at writing, as long as you're aware that your brain is likely messing with you.

The worse you think you are at writing, the more you should also realize that you're probably pretty decent at it. And vice versa: if you live in the belief that you're brilliant, you should maybe take a writing class and get some honest feedback, aye?

It's definitely not easy to let go of the fears we have allowed ourselves to believe for such a long time, but I hope that knowing why they're in your brain helps you realize that they can't stop you.

Because one day when you're a successful writer you'll realize that there's also this thing called Imposter Syndrome, where extremely successful people feel like frauds and that they shouldn't be given any of the attention they're given.

Yeah... I wouldn't exactly call myself successful or anything, but my author platform keeps on growing and growing, and often I catch myself thinking that I'm just lying to everyone and that my writing doesn't deserve to be read. But knowing that it's just my brain being silly, I can stop myself right there and not open that Self Doubt Drawer at the back of my mind.

Don't go there! Don't open that drawer, friends!

We won't ever be perfect, and we'll always be more or less of a disappointment to ourselves. But let's not let that stop us from telling stories and creating magic.

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