If you struggle with doubt and insecurity as a writer, here are a few specific tips for increasing your writing confidence. Female writers are almost always paralyzed by self-doubt, self-criticism, and fear – even the most successful published, most well-read authors. I don’t think male writers struggle with the same self-doubts.
I increased my confidence in myself as a writer by reading books like The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well by Paula LaRocque. If you don’t read about writing, you won’t learn how to write.
Here’s what Lisa Bloom writes in Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World: “One of the best things about men is their confidence, their rightness, their ability to go with their gut and produce,” says Rochelle Schieck, founder of Qoya. “I rarely overhear men in cafes talking about how differently they could have or should have done something.”
Bloom is quoting Schieck, who also says: “One of the most paralyzing things for a woman is her doubt. Do I have the right job? Did I pick the right partner? Are these the right shoes? Did I pick the right place to go on vacation? Doubt is like an anchor that keeps women rooted in murky waters of disapproval.”
What do you doubt about yourself as a female writer? I doubt my Quips and Tips blogs every day. I have a vision for them – which I haven’t even fully admitted to myself – and yet I doubt I’ll succeed.
Here’s why you (WE!) need to deal with your doubts as a writer: “Self-doubt brings fear, such as the fear of failure, of the dark, of being out of control, of not being good enough…Doubt brings mistrust, which appears real, even though it may have no real substance. It arises when the ego is threatened or undermined. Such doubt creates worry, nervous disorders, and even paranoia. It is the enemy of real happiness.” – from Why You Should Never Doubt Yourself.
How can you write articles, books, blog posts, or ebooks if you’re plagued with fear, darkness, and self-doubt? You can’t. That’s why you need to increase your confidence in yourself as a writer.
3 Ways to Increase Your Writing Confidence
Determine what you want to write
What are your writing goals? What would you do if you weren’t paralyzed by doubt? Do you want to get your book published, start a blog, make money as a writer, find a literary agent, write your first novel, pen your memoirs?
The first step to shaking off your “doubt paralysis” is to figure out what you really want to do as a writer.
I really want my Quips and Tips blogs to succeed! Which, to me, means I want to keep making money blogging. I earned almost $60,000 last year, and yet I doubt I can do it again in 2013.
I am a woman writer, and I am plagued with self-doubt. Which is why I wrote 13 Tips for Writing More Confidently – Starting With Stephen King when I first started blogging – to help me cope with my own doubts as a woman writer.
Stay connected to your Creator
To overcome my self-doubt and stop being paralyzed, I’m praying over my Quips and Tips blogs every morning. I will follow my heart and soul, and let God take these blogs where He will. I’m focusing less on making money blogging, and more on writing posts that bring light, hope, and love to the internet.
What’s your source of energy, peace, light, hope, love, and self-compassion? This is how to stop being paralyzed by doubt: spend time every day connecting to whatever it is that gives you strength and confidence. You don’t need to have confidence in yourself – God knows I don’t!
You need only have confidence in something Greater than you. Let that increase your self-confidence and help you cope with the doubts you have as a writer.
But don’t “just” pray or meditate your doubts away! Read 5 Ways to be a More Confident Writer, Blogger, or Freelancer.
Create a writing schedule – and sticking to it
The key is to find the balance between creating a plan that will move you towards your writing goals, and being open to changing your goals/plan/schedule if the situation (or your Source) warrants it.
A schedule or plan will take you past paralysis and doubt, and into action and goals. What’s your plan, man?
For example, I created my Quips and Tips blogs – as well as a weekly blogging schedule – but now I’m finding myself more drawn to the idea of writing about whatever my Creator brings forward.
Let yourself doubt yourself as a writer, but take it to your Creator. Let your fears and self-doubts be washed away. Let your confidence increase as you renew your mind and soul with hope, love, faith, and the confidence that your writing – your books, blog posts, magazine articles, memoir – will unfold exactly the way it’s meant to.
For more ways to cope with the paralysis doubt brings all writers – even published authors, and even men! – read How to Increase Writing Confidence – Grow the Skin of a Rhino.
What do you think – are women writers more likely to doubt themselves than male writers?
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello and share your thoughts below. If not, go well....and don't forget to come back.