Inside the Mind of a Writer

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?

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Self doubt. One simple phrase that packs a huge punch and can single-handedly destroy your dreams.

How many times have you set out to take on the world, or at least your little corner of it? Maybe you wanted to lose weight, improve your health, learn a new language, go back to school, begin a new career… just to name a few common objectives.

You were energized and motivated… determined. You had a vision, laid out an aggressive but manageable plan, and charged ahead full steam.

Did you succeed? Or did that cynical voice inside make you doubt yourself? You’re not good enough. You can’t do it. Why waste your time? You’re never gonna make it. Did you let it win?

I struggle with self doubt… a lot. Right now, it’s got the upper hand.

Last week I shared with you my eye-opening experience of the dangers of sleep deprivation. (click here if you missed it) I’ve adjusted my lifestyle, and I’m sleeping more. Which means I have less time to write and work on everything related to writing.

Less time means I need to work harder, right? But there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. Each night, I find myself slipping a few minutes closer to my old pattern of working into the night. I’m afraid to push myself, so my drive to succeed is stuck in idle.

To further complicate the situation, I have a day job that I… loathe, abhor, despise; and recent changes have made it downright oppressive. I cope, five days a week, by blocking out my surroundings and shutting down my emotions. It gets me through each day, but it’s become a burden. Worse, I’ve allowed it to affect my overall happiness and creativity, even beyond the work week.

The ideas for my story are in my head, but they won’t come out. Part of my writing process requires me to connect emotionally with my characters, and I can’t do that when my emotions are locked away. My jumbled thoughts that manage to make it to the page are a mess, and trying to organize them sometimes seems impossible.

There’s always plenty of other things that need to be done, so I try to make the most of my nonproductive time. My author platform is still under construction, and I have social media accounts to maintain. Blogging, networking, and learning about the business all take time and need my attention. And, of course, my critique partners always have plenty of chapters waiting for me to review.

I feel like I’m the only one not accomplishing something.

You’re not good enough. You can’t do it. Why waste your time? You’re never gonna make it. The voice of self doubt appears to be right.

My book won’t be published by the end of this year, a huge disappointment for me. I failed at every turn, fell short on every goal I set for myself. And, I’ve come to realize that writing will, most likely, only ever be a hobby for me.

I love to write. I know I can write a decent story… eventually. But, I don’t believe I will ever be successful enough to make a living doing what I love. I can’t begin to tell you how painful that is for me to admit. It’s hard to accept, and I don’t want to.

My oldest son was home to visit this weekend. As always, he asked how my book is coming along. My response earned me a brief lecture about not giving up—basically telling me to get my act together, keep working, and quit being so hard on myself. (along with some other harsh truths) He ended by saying, “I’m telling you the same thing you told me when I was struggling.”

My own words used against me…

So, what do I do now? I honestly don’t know how proceed, but I don’t want to give up on my dream. I can’t. I’ve never wanted anything more. Guess I need to get my act together.IMG_0079

Self doubt. One simple phrase that packs a huge punch and can single-handedly destroy your dreams. Don’t let this happen to you!.

I’m off to take my own advice and stop it from stopping me. –CJ

Read previous posts on my writing journey, Inside the Mind of a Writer.

10 thoughts on “Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?”

  1. Yes. This is me. That Self-Doubt Fairy sits on one shoulder, Anxiety Fairy on the other, holding hands and basically sending me into procrastination paralysis.

    You’ve adjusted your sleep schedule; maybe it’s OK to adjust your expectations schedule, as well. It’s all right for the book not to come out by the end of the year – take the pressure off and just know it will come out at some point?

    Best of luck to you. I know this pain so well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Margaret!

      Thanks for the kind words. Sometimes it helps to know others are facing the same struggles. I think we need to book those fairies a one-way flight to Never Never land! 🙂
      I’ve adjusted my expectations… I don’t like it, but I don’t have another choice. It will all work out in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It definitely helps me to know I’m not alone – not that I want others struggling, as well, but it’s wonderful to see not only authors admitting to struggles, but also watching authors overcome struggles. I wish you the best of luck – and yes, I also trust it will all work out in the end! 🙂

        Like

  2. Don’t you hate it when your kids say something smart and it turns out to be your own words?

    I knew a person who was about 55 years old 10 years ago, and she worried that she might lose her job. There were massive cutbacks at her company; all sorts of people were leaving. It was a scary time. Her family needed her to be working. They relied in her income.

    Her main concern was, if she lost her job, that she only had a high school education. She never went to college. Finding a new job in that economy without a degree… she worried.

    Meanwhile, one of her children was about to graduate college after going part time on and off for over a dozen years.

    I suggested that she should start taking classes.

    She said she was too old. It would take her ten years or more!

    I asked her how old she would be in ten years if she got a degree and how old she’d be if she didn’t get one.

    Your book is your book. If it comes fast like mine do, it’s not yours. Your book takes a little longer. When it comes, it’ll be a joy like few others.

    Oh, and that lady who was afraid of getting laid off? Ten years later she didn’t get laid off and never started taking classes, never got a degree, and still worried about getting laid off and how hard it’ll be to find another job. But she’s still working there.

    She did have a heart attack, though, and nearly died. About 1/3 of her heart muscle did die.

    Sorry. not all my stories have happy endings.

    Yours can, though, CJ.

    In life and in our stories, we write every chapter, good and bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Dan!

      I appreciate your support! I think a ghostwriter slipped it to write this chapter in my life, and it needs some major revisions. It will get better! 🙂

      As for my book… it’s taking a lot longer, but I’ll see it through and hopefully it will be successful. Either way, I’ll move on to the next one, because I love to write. That’s what I need to stay focused on.

      Like

    1. Thanks Bill!

      You’re right, we need to stay focused on the goal. I’m not good at being patient, so I get frustrated when things slow me down. I’ll finish, I have no doubt about that.

      Good luck with your book! I’ll watch for updates on your progress on Twitter. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post.
    I feel like this is something that we all go through. That said, please work through this slump. I don’t read romance, and I LOVE your story. If you write slow, write slow. Just don’t stop.

    Liked by 1 person

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