Wednesday, November 10, 2010

doubt

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." --William Shakespeare

Anyone here ever struggle with self-doubt? Um, ME! ME!

How do I overcome doubt? By forcing myself to take the next step forward. The only way to completely erase your doubts is to prove them wrong. I had many, many times when I doubted if I would ever get an agent. When it got the worst, I would send out ten more queries, or start a new book so I had something new to query soon. I would Keep. Moving. Forward. No matter how paralyzed I wanted to be by my fear, I forced it back by acting like I believed it was going to work. Even when I actually didn't. Does that make sense? It did for me. Did it work? Yes! Eventually. It took time, effort, faith, hard-work, more time, more effort... you get the idea. It took SIX blog posts about "my path to get an agent" worth of time to get there. But I did get an agent.

Now, I have all these doubts about finding an editor who will love my work enough to buy it. So, what am I going to do? Work hard, move forward, do what my agent needs me to do, and keep going until it happens. Then I'm sure I'll have new doubts. Woohoo! So much to look forward to! Ha ha. (Actually, I do look forward to it!)

How about you, what do you do to overcome your doubt?

17 comments:

Patti said...

It seems to me that no matter where you are on the journey, you have doubts. I try not to wallow in them, and I just read on Jody Hedlund's blog that we need to use them to spur us to action.

Shari said...

I am completely full of self doubt. I do the same thing you do. I just keep writing and submitting, hoping that someday someone out there will like it. You come across as very confident even though your doubt yourself sometimes. I think that's awesome. I find myself shrinking into corners instead.

Carolyn V. said...

I just keep going and tell myself it will happen one day. The worst is that it won't, but I would reject not trying.

WindyA said...

You could always start writing about your journey to an editor ... and then by the time you finish you'll have already had one! woohoo for your awesomely detailed long stories! lol. I think your message is great and always nice to be reminded: Just keep going. Sort of like Dory on Finding Nemo ... "just keep swimming, just keep swimming"

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Ooo, lovely post. And I'm so there with you. For me, it helps to admit my doubts out loud to someone: my husband, a trusted friend. Not only do they usually give me a pep talk, but there's just something healing in admitting a weakness. It's easier to let it go after that.

Can't wait to watch you announce your book deal!

Ann said...

Great post..very reassuring! Sounds like a good plan to just move forward. I have a tendency to stagnant.

Love the Shakespearian quote. My mother was forever quoting Shakespeare at me, so it is very appropriate!

Colene Murphy said...

Doubting is natural. It sucks but I think it's what keeps writers learning and perfecting and honing their craft. It they didn't doubt they wouldn't learn and do anything to improve. So good job!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Yes yes yes! So inspirational, Sara. I have doubts all the time, but if you focus on them too hard, you will be crippled by them. You know what they say...the only difference between success and failure is perseverance, right? (I have no idea who says this, or if anyone even does, but it sounds right). Keep going, sweetie. It'll happen for you. I have every faith in you.

Melissa Gill said...

I agree, the best way to banish doubt and stay positive about rejection is to keep writing, keep working, have other projects to look forward too. If you pin too many hopes on one ms, each rejection hurts that much worse.

Angie said...

That's great advice. Keep moving forward. I only suffer from self-doubt like once a day or so. I have found prayer helps too. Thanks!

Trisha Leaver said...

I am sitting in the exact same boat. I started a new ms, not to cure me of my doubts per se, but to distract me LOL!

Ca.ll.y said...

Great advice!

Elana Johnson said...

Holy excellent post. I feel doubt every day of my life. You can either let it paralyze you, or you can keep going until you finish strong. I choose to finish strong.

Russo said...

This post is what i needed to hear~Thank you!

DL Hammons said...

Still struggling with this one, unfortunately, and I havent even sent off that first query letter yet. There are times when DOUBT owns me. But what really helps alot is posts like this. I'm learning from you, and others, that I have to put the doubt in the closet (it never really goes away) and keep working hard. Things will work out...or they won't...but worrying about it only wastes time and energy!

Thank you!

L.T. Elliot said...

Great post, Sara. So glad you kept forging ahead. Crossing my fingers you'll get your desired Christmas gift! ;)

alexia said...

I do the same thing - just make myself do something. I'm still trying to get an agent, so there's all sorts of doubt floating about my universe these days. I just keep going forward, because I refuse to give up.