Whether it’s about your skills as a writer or the story you’re trying to tell, something that crops up for many writers is the fear of not being good enough. Insecurity is a bitch. It can be very hard to overcome, especially for sensitive artist types. It might seem, at times, like it’s out of your control, but there are some things you can do to combat this very common writerly fear.
Remember: Practice Makes Progress
It’s called a writing practice for a reason, and that reason is because that’s exactly what you’re doing. If your fear of not being good enough stems from your skills as a writer, this is going to be an important mantra for you. The only way to improve your writing is to keep doing it.
But notice that I didn’t say the usual, “practice makes perfect.” That’s because perfect is rarely an achievable goal. It’s basically impossible when it comes to writing. Ernest Hemingway said,
“We are all but apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
The one thing practice is guaranteed to do is help you make progress. I made a little something to help you remember this, click here if you’d like to download it.
Learn Everything You Can
The greatest thing the Internet has done for humanity is make all the information we could possibly want available to us instantly. If you’re feeling insecure about your writing skills, there are tons of places you can go to learn more about the craft, without paying big bucks for an MFA.
(I’ve done my best to collect the ones I personally can vouch for, use the form below to get access to my Happy Writer Kit.)
MAJOR ASTERISK: Reading about writing can trick your brain into thinking you’re being productive. But you’re not! Nothing replaces the actual practice we talked about earlier, so make sure to be applying what you’re learning as you go.
Take Advantage of the Drafting Process
I’ve written before about how drafting is a writer’s best friend. If your worry is that your story isn’t going to be good enough, you’ll have plenty of chances to make it better! Getting feedback during or between drafts can be immeasurably helpful as far as assuaging your anxieties. A developmental editor can help you see the strengths in your story while helping you to improve upon areas of weakness before you send your baby out into the world.
Consider a Writing Coach
If the fear of not being good enough is so strong it’s keeping you from writing at all, then you might consider hiring a writing coach. A coach can act as an alpha reader (someone who reads your story as you write it, as opposed to beta readers who read shortly before publication), as well as an accountability partner and confidence booster. Writing coaches are great for when you need someone to kick you in the pants so you finish that chapter, or when you need to talk through a sticking situation that’s got you feeling like you don’t actually know what you’re doing.
Get your Happy Writer Kit!
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