This morning, I was working at the café, when I picked up on the conversation taking place between two younger women a few away.
Turns out they were aspiring writers.
At first, I was excited, much like the way a bird watcher who spots a pileated woodpecker on her back deck. Fellow writers! In the Wild!
Yeah, twenty-three books later and I was intimidated by two strangers in a coffee shop. Strangers who, so far as I know, hadn’t sold a book.
It was because they sounded so confident.
I’ve been thinking about confidence – or rather my lack of it – for a while now. When I first began writing, I too, had confidence. I believed I had the talent to be a published author and I persevered. Something happened over the years from when I got the Call to today. Maybe it’s the years of publisher disinterest or killing myself over books that don’t sell while newer authors burst onto the scene in bigger, better ways.
Maybe it’s the fact that I was raised in an house where self-doubt ruled while there’s entire generation of writers with confidence to spare. They publish books without enduring years of rejection and share their opinions on social media without fear of ramification.
Whatever the reason, I’ve been battling self-doubt for a while. It’s held me back from building a bigger career. Kept me from making the hard choices that come with putting yourself first.
Turns out that even if such a person existed, they wouldn’t kill the self-doubt. They couldn’t because the very definition of self-doubt is that it comes from the self. Outside validation may momentarily soothe the ache but it can’t repair the hole.
How do we then? How do we banish self-doubt?
As far as I can tell, you can’t. Not completely, anyway. Best you can do is push through. Suffer the discomfort and do things anyway. I’ll be honest. The discomfort sucks. But what else are you going to do?
So push though, peeps. Push through.
Hey! Speaking of self doubt…. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and will be a guest on the Writer’s Block NH podcast soon. You can visit them at Writer’s Block NH to find out where you can you can listen to this fun podcast about writing and writing life.