This article was written by one of our writers. The author’s views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of WritersDomain.
I have known since I was a child that I wanted to be a writer. So, obviously, I became a photographer, a bookkeeper and eventually bought a gas station and a Laundromat. I ran a daycare, had a position on the Board of Directors for our local Cultural Center and worked as a cook. I served time as a stay-at-home mom and learned to bake bread.
Basically, I did every possible thing I could to avoid writing. Why? Because it was the one thing in the world I desperately wanted to do. It was my dream. If I failed at everything else (and I usually did) that was okay, because it didn’t really matter. If I failed at writing, well, that was the end of everything.
Two years ago I realized my kids were old enough to not want me hovering over them all time. I knew I couldn’t bear another office job or customer service position. It seemed like it was now or never. I started writing and, much to my surprise, people began paying me for my efforts. But I knew I was terrible. People would come to their senses soon. I had to write quickly and be as productive as possible before I was seen as a total fraud, lacking in any talent. Many nights I would wake up at midnight, look into the dark and worry I would never have another good idea.
I worked through that worry and my confidence grew. Today, I still worry, but my persistence continues to pay off. I have private clients, online work which keeps me busy and a monthly column in a small publication that allows me to be creative. I’m always looking for new ways to expand my career. But, the exciting part is that I have a career. It is not just a job or something I do to bide my time while I watch my kids grow.
The reality is that everyone suffers from self-doubt regarding their writing ability. Writing is a very personal craft and many writers, even when it is a bland topic they care little about, will still put their heart and soul into it. You can be thrilled with the quality of the work you just produced, yet still feel a pit in your stomach when you hit “submit”. Apparently it is also normal to drink several cups of coffee, clean out the fridge and take the dogs for a walk in a desperate attempt to delay writing a blog post about insecurities. So, since I am the “Queen of the Insecure” (my title, I’ve claimed it), I want to offer some advice to others who are at the beginning of their brave new career.
The (Real) Truth of Writing
- You can only pay attention to the people in your life who emotionally support you in your endeavors. Everyone else is wrong.
- Editors are not personally after you. Read their comments, do what you need to meet their requests and move on. (Also feel free to yell at your computer screen, walk the dogs or explain to anyone who will listen about how ridiculously wrong editors are about everything).
- If you discover after your revision that the article is better for the edits they suggested, decide they were just lucky that time, but quietly tuck the advice into the back of your head for future reference.
- Some of your articles will be rejected. You are not being rejected, 400 or so words you once wrote were just not well-received by one or two people. Keep the work, look at it in a week or two and polish it up for another try.
- Some days you will struggle longer to think of a title than you did writing the story.
- Some days are not “writing days”. You will lack the ability to put more than two words together or find a topic you understand or have a single private client who needs you. Do not beat yourself up for it. Tomorrow will be better.
- The next day you will stare at your computer with contempt and decide you are going to do anything for a career besides writing. Like work at a florist or clean out septic tanks. Anything. But then you will sit down and write, because it really is what you (grudgingly) love.
- You need other writers to talk to. Whether they are beginners or experts, they are all facing the same demons as you.
Do not let fear or insecurity stop you. Everyone on this site has faced a revision, a rejection or both. Understanding this will help you to see that there is nothing wrong with you. These self-doubts are not inner signs that you are on the wrong path. In fact, they are proof that it matters. And that is what will encourage you to become the best writer you can be.