Today I woke up with a feeling of dread.
Doubt coursed through my veins. Dread blurred my vision, and I felt like staying in bed forever.
Then I went to Amazon, which I shouldn’t have done, and saw that one of my books had received a 2-star review. That didn’t help.
The reason I share this is to show you that I am as human as you are. Everyone has challenges, even successful entrepreneurs and writers.
I’m writing this to help you see that you do not lack anything. You can start writing right now. You don’t have to feel ready. You don’t even have to feel good.
Doubts, fears, and worries are a part of a writer’s life.
Now, let’s dive deeper into some of the doubts I ran into while writing my latest books: How to Write Nonfiction eBooks and How I Made Over $100,000 Online Doing What I Love (this book is no longer in print).
1. I Don’t Know What I’m Doing
When I’m writing a book, I know I’ll get confused. It’s inevitable. At some point, I’ll run into an obstacle that seems insurmountable.
I’ll want to give up. I’ll wonder why I’m doing this in the first place. But I’ve been through the cycle of doubt so many times that I know that the answer is to stop. Not forever, but to take a break.
My mind wants to push through and force a solution, but it’s when I most want to force that I most need to let go.
The impostor syndrome is common in writers and creative types. What we create doesn’t feel good enough. But just because it doesn’t feel good enough doesn’t make it so.
The more I’ve written, the more I’ve come to know my patterns of thought. I don’t have to believe every thought that passes through my mind.
It’s not always easy to not believe, because thoughts can seem to gobble you up. But it helps to know that thoughts come and go. When your state of mind changes, so do your thoughts.
2. Is This Good Enough?
At the core of most of these doubts is the question: Is this good enough?
Good enough for who? For what purpose?
We compare ourselves to imaginary ideals, which often have nothing to do with the real world.
I write because I love to write. Whether my writing is good enough or not doesn’t matter. What matters is the pull to write.
If I’m doing my best, and writing, that is enough. I can only write, and put my writing out there, the rest is up to life.
If someone hates what I write, that’s fine. I’ll keep writing.
The question isn’t if what your writing is good enough, or if you’re good enough, it’s: “Am I doing what I love?”
3. Will It Sell?
I worry about whether or not my book will sell, which seems to run against what I said above about doing what I love.
Deep down, I want my book to sell so I can get approval and security. Like any good story, there’s conflict in our lives, because we are the hero in our story.
I don’t know if any book I write will sell. I don’t know if anyone will buy. I can only do my best, listen to what my audience wants, and write.
I focus on what I can do, which is to write.
So whatever you do, write, and keep writing, no matter what.
And really, we don’t know where our inspiration will take us. Writing books that bomb may be exactly what’s needed to move forward.
4. Why Bother?
I compare myself to writers that I think are better than me.
I doubt myself, and my ability to write. Even though I regularly receive thank-you emails, I still feel insecure.
Once I catch myself, I remember that I write because I want to write. No other reason is necessary.
Being a good writer is subjective. Yes, there are objective signs, but even the best writers aren’t liked by everyone. Even the best novels in the world have 1-star reviews.
I don’t have to justify what I do to anyone. Not even to myself. I write. That’s enough.
I put my inspiration first. I follow my heart. I have bad days, like anyone else, but I keep writing, because it’s something I can’t not do.
5. My Story is Mundane
With my book, How I Made Over $100,000 Online Doing What I Love, I shared my story, and parts of me that I haven’t revealed before. But my story felt as mundane as tying my shoes.
I questioned whether or not anyone would want to read it. But I also knew that my story would always feel mundane to me.
When you know something as intimately as your own story, it feels boring. I knew this, so what I did was get my book to good enough, and send out review copies.
I wanted real feedback from real people, and I wanted to avoid assuming that my writing was crap.
I also knew that any book covering the topic of making money online was going to be met with some resistance, but I decided to do it anyway, because my readers were interested in learning the truth about making a living online.
Tell your story, and challenge your assumptions. You don’t know what will happen unless you take action.
Ernest Hemingway put it well when he said: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Use your pain and suffering and channel it into your writing. It is energy waiting to be transmuted.
The Not So Dreadful Conclusion
As writers, we wage an internal war.
We want to write, yet we’re scared to put our writing out there.
We want success, but at the same time we’re afraid of it.
Will you overcome your doubts and write? Will you slay the dragon and emerge victorious?
Only you can decide.
It won’t feel good. The stars will not align. You have to start before you’re ready, and before you feel ready.
But once you start, you realize that things weren’t as bad as you made them out to be. You realize that overcoming your doubts is part of the fun.
You are the protagonist in your own story. Your struggles, doubts, and fears are what give you depth and wisdom as a human being. They give you fodder for your writing, so embrace them with open arms.
Write because you want to write.
No other reason is required.