So more recently I have had a few battles with self-doubt! I think this is pretty normal. After all, even the most confident people experience self-doubt from time to time and would we be human if we never encountered it at all?
Self-doubt comes in many forms but it basically is defined by hesitancy, a feeling of diffidence and indecision about doing something, unassertiveness, diffidence about self promotion, timidity, fear of the unknown or unfamiliar or fear of making decisions.
Well yup, I don’t know about you but I have found myself falling into some of these categories relating to self-doubt and here is how it has come about…
I have come to the conclusion that when you are a blogger, self-doubt and writing go hand and hand! Especially as I have begun the thought process of branching out into freelance writing. I know for me it has been a little chirping voice off and on but more lately it has gotten louder. At first, just the sheer excitement of having finally started my blog and the actual act of designing it shut that voice up! I was busy! I didn’t have time to pay attention to that voice. Then I had quite a bit of material that was already pre-planned and I knew was good, so that shut out the voice as well… Yet, as time has gone on and I wade further into the blogging waters and even consider some freelance writing, that little nagging voice has begun to creep in more frequently and boy is she a noisy creature! Often times she comes at me with pesky dream killer questions like:
• What are you saying that is new or hasn’t already been said before? (That’s a biggie)
• When do you finally consider yourself a legit blogger?
• Maybe other people will read and won’t find you relatable?
• What if you never really do anything with your blog?
• How can you expect to be taken seriously when you are just one blogger in a sea of millions?
So I decided to go on a search regarding blogging and self-doubt and it turns out – WOW – I am NOT alone with these thoughts! There are quite literally pages of articles from bloggers, just like me – all thinking the same dang thing!
HEYYYYY, I am at home with my people!
But let me tell you some of the conclusions I also came to that didn’t require research…
1. Be willing to FAIL!
Yup, I said it… As uncomfortable as this may seem and counterintuitive to us as adults, geez how many motivational quotes do we have to read where the athlete, coach, inventor or self help guru talked about how many times they tried and failed before getting right? Maybe I won’t go far with this little endeavor of mine but oh baby, what I have already done is so much further then if I hadn’t started at all…and with each little fail, comes the knowledge of what to do different next time to bring about success! So prepare to fail, learn from it, and keep it moving…FORWARD!
2. No COMPARING!
Okay, so this is a toughie…after all, bloggers check out other bloggers. It’s what we do! Not only do we like to write, but we tend to like to read – a LOT and we read other bloggers and freelance writers endlessly. We look at their sites, writing style, media, you name it. It’s ridiculous but also very normal. Thankfully for me, I had already established in my mind the look I was going for…so while I will always tweak & change, I am pretty good with my “feel.” Yet it is the progress where I can sometimes get hung up. When I find myself doing this, I check my data. Am I meeting the baby goals I have set for myself, did I teach myself something new, have I tried something I never tried before? Go back and reread your old pieces, do you still like them? All of which is probably a yes…so “shut up self-doubt” and give yourself a congratulations! You are only allowed to compare yourself to YOURSELF! Make that your mantra!
3. Take a break yet don’t QUIT!
Between April and May, I have only posted twice. That’s less then half from March alone! Yet I gave myself permission to chill out because life has been coming at me fast and I was being too hard on myself about not writing as often as I thought I needed to. It was some self imposed “rule”! Yes obviously the more frequent one writes and posts, the better. However, if you put too much pressure on yourself, your likely to let that voice beat you down and beat you OUT! So give yourself permission to take a break, enjoy life, then COME BACK to it.
4. Look for SUPPORT!
Support comes in the most unlikely of places! Close friends I thought would be happy to provide feedback maybe have never even read my first blog and then people I haven’t met or seen in over 30 years comment religiously! Just the other day I retweeted Carol Tice@TiceWrites, (who happens to be an award winning blogger/freelance writer I enjoy reading) and added my own comment, when before you know it, she was gently prompting me with a few solid nuggets that were really the jump start to a few hard questions to myself and introspection. It was a great, unexpected supportive moment that lead me to know what I needed to do for myself to promote my own growth in the near future! It gave me a little boost and a concrete place to turn for further feedback. Reach out to people who are in this field. Yeah – some are very into themselves but others are not and really willing to help! Those are the ones to seek out and like Carol said, “So…what would get you over the hump? It won’t get easier to take the first step. Always hard…but taking action, each action makes it easier. What’s the worst thing that happens? Nothing. #goforit” I think I got a mad crush that day.
5. When in doubt, WRITE ABOUT IT!
Wait, what? Yeah…you read me right. Write about it! For that matter, make it blog post or article, just like I am doing now. Why the heck not? You are allowing yourself to voice the same vulnerabilities that apparently loads of other writers have buzzing about in their brains. So what if it’s not new? Maybe something you say today comes across better then what someone said five years ago! Besides, simply writing about it helped me shut that little voice down and in turn, created a somewhat decent piece with some not so bad advice. It might work that way for you too!
So on the occasion you experience self-doubt, it doesn’t make you a crappy writer or even crappy at anything really. It makes you human. Welcome to the club. There’s like seven billion of us. So while none of us are “experts” at this thing called writing or anything in life really, we are all experts at being human. Give yourself a break and try some of these tips!Go in love,