Do you ever doubt your ability to write? Do you ever have days where you think you’re just not good enough, and you should stop writing so as to save the world from your awful writing.
I’ve written 5 books, posted on Huffington Post, and am a top writer in my genre on Medium. But I’ve had days where I wonder whether I can even write anymore. I’ve had long periods without a regular writing pattern.
In fact, I’ve occasionally thought I’ve lost my gift completely.
I remember a time where it was more difficult not to write, than to write. I had words pouring out of me like water out of a newly discovered well. I was an unstoppable force of blog posts and e-books. I had literally 4 months worth of blog posts written and ready to publish.
It seems like a lifetime ago.
I don’t know when it happened. Somewhere along the way I just stopped writing. It just died. I’m sure part of it was about betrayal. Another writer, then making their name, now quite big, effectively copying my work and making money from it. I got bogged down with a book, I got confused as to what I was writing about and who for, and started a podcast which took up time, and I love doing
So I figured out I wanted to communicate for a living. Writing, speaking, coaching, video, podcasting.
I still love writing. It’s still my principal gift. But for a while, I just kinda stopped. I had a few setbacks and failures, I felt like I was repeating myself all the time. And somewhere in the process, my heart disappeared.
And I love helping writers. I’ve begun a writing challenge this week in my Facebook group and on my subscriber list, and the response has been phenomenal. (You can sign up for this challenge here).
It’s given me untold joy watching others discover their writing voice, build writing habits, and overcome creative blocks to find what they really have to say. It’s also given me great encouragement to start writing myself again.
But even now, after all I’ve achieved, there’s still this little doubt inside about just how good I am. I still question my ability to write really well.
Anxiety, lack of confidence, fear — they are common to all writers, not just the ones starting out.
So if this is you — you’re not alone.
How Can We Overcome Fear?
I have another book to write, a story to tell, and some days I’m afraid I won’t do it justice, because I won’t have the words, I won’t have the command of my craft which will allow me to create the book the message I have deserves.
Outside the inner fear of sharing my story and being vulnerable, it’s this insecurity about doing the message justice this which holds me back from sharing my story the most. I read so many great, well written blog posts and books and just wonder how I’ll ever write so beautifully, so poetically, so artistically, and whether I’ll ever master this craft.
I’ve worked with and encountered a lot of writers, and I’m confident I’m not alone in this experience.
Now, I begin to see more clearly — writing is journey. It’s a process. And we’re always growing and learning and improving. We’re never done as writers, there’s always ways we can improve.
So not writing out of fear will only serve to stop us growing as writers, and that’s definitely not something any of us would want.
So what’s the answer to rediscovering your love of writing, and becoming a better writer?
That’s the first thing we should do. Because logic says that the more you practice a habit, the better you’ll become.
The more words you write, the more time you spend writing, the more chance you’ll become the writer you’re capable of becoming.
That’s something I’ve always found with writing. The more I do it, the better I become.
There are other habits I can practice which will help us too — more reading, more learning — from others, from courses and books. It’s all there for us. And it’s a process.
I know I’m a better writer than I was 5 years ago. If I were to write past books or blog posts again, I’d likely do them a whole lot better.
If you’re afraid your work isn’t good enough, that’s normal. We all struggle with that as writers.
But you don’t have to be afraid. Because no matter how good your work is, there’s always ways we can improve. At some point, you just have to let it go — and keep on writing.
So today, choose to let go. Choose to believe that no matter how late or early we are on our writing journey, we all have more to learn. Writing is a journey, and we’re all learners.
The work we create now is a reflection who we are right now — nothing more, nothing less.
And the sooner we can rest and be content in that, the sooner we can get to work on becoming the writers we’re capable of being.
Visit James at JamesPrescott.co.uk.