Kick self-doubt in the balls

Another writing practice from The Write Practice: Out of 7 lies writers tell themselves, take one that bothers you and write about it for 15 minutes.

Lie #4: Even if you try your best, you’ll never write as well as/be successful as [insert author name here].

kick fear

Found this gem on pinterest. So much truth.

Even before I got into the writing game, I was a reader. A voracious reader. Once I get going, I can finish one book and pick up the next and the one after that and five books later, I’ve finished my binge and can return to normal life for a couple of days. Lather, rinse, repeat about 3-4 times per month.

Except, when I started writing, I would look at a sentence and think “this isn’t like [insert name here]; it’s crap”. And I’d do that all the time: “My writing isn’t like Stephen King’s, or Christine Feehan, or Cherise Sinclair. I won’t be the next Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett; why do I even bother?”

Self-doubt serves no one. Those authors started out the same as me. Putting one word in front of the other, looking ahead and telling themselves they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t write like William Faulkner or Hemmingway. But, they’ve written some of my favourite books and found their unique author voice.

At some point, we all had to learn how to write.

Some have just been doing it for a lot longer than me and by now, they should be good at it.

I tell my karate students that I started out not knowing a front punch from a reverse punch, or even what an axe kick was, and now I’m the one teaching them what it is. You have to start from white belt to get to black belt.

I know I’ll never write like Cherise Sinclair or Stephen King. I’m not them. I’m me. I will write what I want, how I want, when I want, and with help and guidance, I’ll be a good author, maybe even a ten-years-in-the-making bestselling author.

But, in the meantime, I’ve learned that to kick self-doubt to the curb, I had to have passion for what I did. Passion is having a very strong feeling about a person or a thing, an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something. I was (maybe still am) lucky to have a fantastic mentor who taught me about passion: have the spirit, find a way, concentrate on what you want, be determined, and form guiding principles to get there. All that will lead to your own path.

Telling yourself that you’ll never be [insert writer here] deflates that passion.

This is probably one of the most destructive lies that writers can tell themselves. And given that I believe I’m a strong, independent person who’s fairly self-aware, I’m rather surprised that this continues to pop into my head. I cannot compare my first draft of anything to someone’s finished product. I’m not a fraud; I’m not an imposter. I’m me. I have my own way that I’ve forged myself. It’s like coming to the end of a road and being told “you can go your own way now”. Once you’ve developed your fundamentals and understand how to apply them, you can make your own path, say things with your own voice, and write just as well as Faulkner or Hemmingway or Cherise Sinclair.

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