Let’s sit down and be honest about this. Writing is hard and sometimes the people around you can make it even harder. When people you love and trust are negative, doubt can seep into your soul and you speculate about your abilities. “Am I good enough?” you ask and you hear the answer in your head. It comes in the form of your loved one’s voice and it says that you’re not.
You can’t let this stop you from writing. Trust me I know this to be true.
I have one relative that turns me into a flaming pillar of doubt. Unfortunately, this ability is not a newly acquired talent nor is it limited to my writing ability. Suffice it to say, I have never been nor will I ever be good enough. AT. ANYTHING.
In most situations, I can blow off a little negativity, but when it comes to writing, it is harder for me to do that.
Here are some tips that I have found to be especially helpful.
Surround yourself with other creative people. Join a writers group or find a critique partner. It is easier to believe in yourself when you see other people experiencing the same things you are. Other people’s unbiased opinions can take the sting out of your loved one’s negative views.
Learn to separate a personal attack from constructive criticism. It has taken me years to learn how to do this. The critiques that I get from my writers groups are offering opinions and advice on my work would be considered constructive criticism. These words provide you with an opportunity to improve your story. A loved one saying “I thought you could write” is a personal attack. Learning the difference has helped me focus on improvement rather than self-doubt.
Write what you love. Passion is the engine that powers you past the self-doubt generated by the negativity. If you want to write children’s fiction, you probably won’t be happy writing adult literary fiction. Loving what you write will keep you going even in the tough times.
Write for yourself. All of us dream of being published. I want to go to a bookstore and see my work in print, but even if that never happens, I will keep writing because when my writing is going well, it makes me happy. I’m not me without writing.
The most important tip is to keep writing. When the voice in your head tells you that you’re not good enough, tie it up, duct tape its mouth, and toss it in the corner. It can stay there until you’re published.