Wanted: The Cure for Self-Doubt

Confession time: I have been in one grumpy cranky-pants mood this week. There have been moments of awesomeness (like the signed first-edition copy of Oryx and Crake from Byron — HOW AWESOME IS THAT), but then I just go crashing back down into the cranks. For no apparent reason! Really, there is no good reason. Everything is going along a-ok on both the home and work front. Nobody has been horrible to me. The cats have been extra snuggly. All good! And yet there’s been this persistent feeling, aura, mood that I cannot shake. It’s hung over me like that little rain cloud that follows Eeyore.

And then — I think I figured it out. Yesterday afternoon, as I was struggling over a particularly thorny rewrite at work, I realized what’s getting me down.

I’ve lost my writing mojo. Or rather: I’ve lost confidence in my writing mojo. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a good writer. I mean, I make a living at it, so clearly other people think I’m a decent writer, too (IT’S NOT JUST ME, OK). So where did this sudden self-doubt come from? This feeling of nope nope nope, that’s not right, you’re doing it wrong.

I sat down the other night to work on my book, and… it was not good. This face was displayed at pretty much everything that came out of the keyboard:

judgedIt was such a struggle to keep writing when every ounce of my body was telling me that what I was typing was just awful. And not just the writing itself — the plot, the characters, the theme, everything I’d ever thought could and should go into this book was clearly a No Good Very Bad Idea.

Fortunately, I had the good sense that night to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER and just go to bed. In the morning, it didn’t look so bad. I was able to look at the words and think, “Oh, ok, it’s not my best, but this isn’t terrible.”

And wouldn’t it be great to say that the light of dawn cured my self-doubt — that self-realization began my amazing journey towards being the most confident and majestic writer in all the land. But no, the self-doubt is still there, lurking under my desk and waiting to pounce.

Do you have a solution? What do you do to buck the funk of self-doubt? Because the truth is: this is something that all writers (heck, all people) struggle with at some point in time. But it sucks all the same. We just have to figure out ways to push past it and find that mojo again.

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