Why Doubting Yourself Is The Worst Thing A Writer Can Do

By on September 11, 2019

It’s official. Self-doubt really is the worst enemy of any writer. Sylvia Plath said so many years ago, and there now is no doubt that it’s true. No matter how prolific and productive you are, no matter whether you are a seasoned or newbie writer, no matter whether you have had several things published and enjoyed success, or are still struggling to get something finished - self-doubt can ruin your writing career.

But surely a healthy dose of self- doubt is no bad thing we hear you cry? Well actually, no. It’s important not to be arrogant. It’s important to understand that you are not above the rules or that you don’t need to work hard to achieve your goal. But doubting yourself consistently along the way really doesn’t help anyone.

It stifles creativity

Self-doubt is one of the biggest culprits for crippling creativity around. If you don’t believe that you have the talent, guts or determination to finish your novel or to be successful, and you continue to tell yourself this over and over again, then you’ll start to believe it. You’ll basically become a self-fulfilling prophecy and end up trapping yourself in a cycle where the more you doubt yourself, the more you’ll have reason to.

It gives you an excuse to procrastinate

If you don’t believe that you can write, you can reasonably tell yourself that your time would be better spent doing other things. This gives you an excellent excuse to put other priorities above your writing first, as writing is a ‘waste of your time.’ 

It delays you submitting your manuscript

If you have finished your manuscript but are too full of self-doubt to let anyone else read it, you are doing yourself a disservice. If your dream is to be a successful and celebrated writer, you are going to have to bite the bullet at some point and allow others to see your work. Self-doubt can delay this process. Sometimes it can even cause you to keep that finished manuscript in a drawer gathering dust never to see the light of day. You’ll therefore never know what might have been were you able to eliminate self-doubt from your life. 

It makes the whole process unenjoyable

One thing that is often forgotten is that writing, while hard work, is still supposed to be enjoyable. If we aren’t enjoying our writing and if all we can do is criticize ourselves along the way, it is worth asking why we are bothering in the first place? If you can stop being so critical and replace this instead with a little self- belief, you will probably find the whole writing process a lot more pleasant, and therefore naturally want to do it more as a result.

So there you have it, some solid reasons to give up doubting yourself right now. Instead, dedicate yourself to your craft, do the hard work that is required and have a quiet confidence and self-belief, that, if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything. 

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

About Bethany Cadman

Bethany Cadman is an author and freelance writer. Her highly anticipated debut novel 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers' is available on Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback. You can find it here - http://tinyurl.com/z47t8qf

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