How to Overcome self-doubt as a Writer

A lack of faith or confidence in our ability as an artist is something all writers struggle with. Sometimes it’s fleeting like a summer breeze, other times, it lingers like a winter  frost. So how do we navigate the storm and overcome self-doubt?

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We’ve all heard the little gremlins, but what makes us carry on despite the crippling fear. One of my favourite quotes is by Suzy Kassem. She hits the proverbial nail on the head with her wise words. 

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem.

Sometimes it’s the shove I need to keep going, to keep trying. I cling to the hope that tomorrow I’ll believe in myself once again.

Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back
Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

For me, perseverance is the only option. In the past, I’ve buried myself in a double quilt, hidden in Netflix series whilst gorging on chocolate: The ultimate self-pity, self-sabotage, procrastination. If you catch yourself in this place, ask yourself these three questions:

  • What do you fear the most? Failure? Ridicule? Or is it success and living in your own power?
  • What’s Holding you back? Is it a lack of knowledge, practice, or feedback? And how can you change that?
  • What would you do differently if you believed in myself? 


“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  – Vincent Van Gogh

And so we should continue to paint with our words, dream up characters, learn our trade, and most importantly, let your joy and passion lead you. Forget the outside world, the setbacks, the criticism and write

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Remember we have the right to nurture ourselves, to take a step back, regroup and reconnect to those we care about. As a suffer of Complex PTSD, I understand that sometimes the inner voice is the cruelest one of all. I now know, self-care and self-love are important for me to be able to create. Occasionally, I need to step back from a project and recharge my creativity. I no longer allow guilt to weigh me down, it’s all part of the process. Me time, strengthens my writing. 

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

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What helps you navigate the choppy waters of self-doubt? Please share your experiences to help other writers, and to help me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and, 2020.

52 thoughts on “How to Overcome self-doubt as a Writer

  1. For me, it’s pharmacology and the bi-weekly PTSD support/therapy group that keeps me sane. Sadly, as the VA (Veterans Administration) is pushing towards the “evidence based” therapies and eliminating the rest. For those of us failed by said therapies are left with the handful of pills they give us and a bottle. Hopefully I can find a replacement, time will tell. Ugh, government bean counters suck. And do they fix the VA? Nope, but those rats in DC have no problem continually voting for more wars so they can create more veterans whom they inevitably fail. Okay, rant over…. I’ll leave the rest for my internal monolog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Chuck

      Hi JR,
      I am a Vietnam Vet and in my time we also had PTSD, yet it was not given a name. It was called weakness by the public and other Vets that were or were not affected by it. Although, if any Vietnam Vet was honest with themselves and others, we all suffered in one form or another. You don’t go to war and not be affected by it.

      I get it that the VA has failed in so many ways. In my opinion, giving up because they are not meeting your needs is giving up on yourself. Counseling, pills, booze or what ever is not going to solve your PTSD. Counseling & medication will help minimize the symptoms and if needed, should be taken. Counseling is a must; yet it does not have to be done at the VA. When all is said and done, you are the one who must overcome PTSD.

      Vets are not the only ones that suffer with PTSD. First responders, medical care givers, and others involved in tragedies all are potential PTSD patients. Due to our current Vets, they raised the issue which has been hidden for years. In most communities, there are support groups for almost everything. If you cannot get the counseling you need from the VA, seek out the other sources. They are there for the asking. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you for posting, and caring… as for counseling, without insurance the VA is all I’ve got. That said, my doctor is working on transitioning me to another doctor so hopefully it works. 🙂 And as a Practitioner of the Soap Box myself I could never judge another! 😛


      1. Thank you, it’s hard because that group LITERALLY saved my life. Not in hyperbolic way, but I was in a dark place after Iraq and close to a choice; bullet or bottle, but either way an end. Luckily she is meeting with me to find me a quality provider and to transition me on to one of her interns turned Doc. But I’ll take it a day at a time! Thanks for asking.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Chuck

    Hi JR,
    If I came across at being judgmental, I apologize. I was trying to state there are so many avenues these days for counseling. Individuals suffering do not need to suffer. In our area you can dial 211 and get in touch with our help-line. They will find you help even if you have no insurance. There are so many support groups available. Bottom line, please do not tolerate and suffer; reach out.

    From one who has been where you are now, (attempted suicide, booze, drugs, etc.) I urge you to stay positive and never give up. God Bless

    Liked by 4 people

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  6. So inspiring, Rainy. I love that quote too, and it’s so true. If I find myself really sinking into self-doubt, I look at the positive comments about my writing given to me by betas (including you!) and that usually gets me back on track. We really are our own worst enemies sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Such an important post, Rainy! Doubt really is a killer, of dreams and confidence and often success. I love how you speak with such honesty about your own experience with this, and I’m sure this will inspire many people in regards to their writing life, but their other commitments too ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lorraine, Thanks so much for those words. I have been writing but I put them in one book and sleep on them. Am trying a blog this year and put them there and see what I can get from them. Once again thanks for those encouraging words. Bless you

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Doubt does plague me all too often but I think I persevere more now because I know writing makes me feel complete and whole. Working in jobs that don’t provide much inspiration I cling to writing as an antidote for becoming disillusioned.

    Liked by 1 person

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