When we have ideas that just won’t leave us, I completely understand the excitement bubbling within to go forth and start writing. Your fingers fling across the keyboard to catch up with the words in your mind. All of the faith in the world that this idea will plume into fruition as a story we’re proud of. You are on fire. And myself, hell the world is here for it. Go you!
You’re twenty pages in by the end of the night and the satisfaction feels incredible. Pride isn’t even the word to describe how you feel.
But then…someone over social media is writing something similar.
Shit, they shared an excerpt in a writer’s group and it’s, well, good. Really good.
Now, you start to feel like yours isn’t so hot in comparison. Your excitement wanes for this new project. Less time becomes devoted to it, and the questioning begins to dwell and simmer in your head regarding your worth. People on social media are advancing much farther along. Confidence begins to plummet.
You might be thinking, “I’m not good enough. They’re already so much ahead than I am. This idea wasn’t so great, anyway.”
Or you see their writing style and compare it to yours. Suddenly, you’re self-editing. And it’s never done, it’s never good enough.
Out of frustration, it becomes abandoned in a document, sitting on your desktop. It waits for you to open it again. Meanwhile, the people you’ve been comparing yourself to have already begun the editing process and started designing their book covers.
This is what self-sabotage looks like. The Imposter Syndrome Shoulder Angel and the Doubt Demon joined forces and put a lot of negative self-talk in your head.
This is such a common theme for writers, and a lot of the times why most rough drafts never see completion. Your confidence is shaken, you maybe even fall down. The difference lies in those who can knock those negative chips from their shoulders and reopen that document.
That crave for perfectionism in their rough draft is going to put a damper on progress, creating counterproductivity and ultimate project abandonment. Lack of self-care leaves you susceptible, especially those of us who already carry unhealthy mindsets.
No one purposely puts themselves in this position. But it happens. The sad reality is–you’re not giving yourself that opportunity to show the world what you’ve got.
I do think we need to remember, another writer’s progress doesn’t mean that they’re better than you. Or that what they’re doing is anything to worry about. Especially in the same trope or genre, we can all share that space…(without plagiarizing, of course) as each of us brings different twists to the table.
Accepting ourselves as writers, and where we are is invaluable to our progress.
If you ever come across a situation like this and you begin to doubt yourself, redirect that attention back to your document. Take a deep breath. Appreciate yourself and the journey you’re going on. Reread the words you’ve drafted, and remember what excited that spark to begin with.
Write for you. Write because it pleases you. Be like Marie Kondo, keep the idea if it brings you joy. If it doesn’t, throw it away.
Tell yourself, “My work is damn good. I am a great writer, and I can do this.”
And then add, “I fell in love with this idea because -insert reason why-.”
Oh, and one more thing? Kick those demons asses for me, will you? They’re annoying.