I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a child, I often traded the sprinklers at the playground with reading books curled on the living room couch. My family was pretty convinced I was the only kid in the world who’d rather stay inside a New York City apartment without air-conditioning in the blistering heat. My books traveled with me all day – to the kitchen table for breakfast, the bathroom for rapid reading sessions before showers, tea parties with my cousins and slept with me at my bedside. Whenever I was given a choice to pick a toy, I went for books and journals every time. For my 10th birthday at Disney World, I opted for a turquoise vinyl-covered Lion King diary with Simba proudly roaring on the cover instead of the bright shiny toys laid all over the gift shop. However, somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, I lost sight of this passion and let my doubts take hostage of my dream.
While I still filled pages upon pages in my journals, my writing became a hidden secret – never good enough for anyone to see other than professors in my writing workshops. I let my self-doubt voice convince me that I was not a writer: I didn’t write as well as the authors I admired; no one would ever read or enjoy anything I wrote; I was not good enough to publish a piece; the market was oversaturated; I could not live a financially sustainable life as a writer; and the list literally ran for miles. I dis-aligned myself from my purpose and settled into a series of unfulfilling careers (cue in the misery and constant unhappiness). Through a lot of back-talking to my loud ass doubtful voice, I reversed my mindset and re-proclaimed myself a writer. Truthfully, though, our self-doubts do not disappear into oblivion, so as I wrote my first blog post for this site, they once again made a sneaky attempt to derail me. We can’t always control the arrival of our doubts but we have the power to silence them and strike them from our path to what we desire.
Stomp Out the Voice!
- Admit its presence circling its negativity around your brain. Are all the things it’s telling you absolutely true?! I didn’t move past writing the first sentence before I was questioning whether a single soul would even read it. My initial reaction was to try and suppress those thoughts but by actually acknowledging them and countering them, it was easier to push forward and start writing the post. I literally was talking back!
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up! It took me four hours to finalize my article which was really cutting into the limited time I had to handle other things. Normally, without the doubts interfering on my action, it takes me a bit less time to finish. I was frustrated that I was back at this same place doubting myself after having the upperhand for so long. After finishing it, I took a deep breath and decided to file it under a lesson learned. It taught me to add a new layer in my writing process, where I now create an outline and take a few minutes to clear my mind. The outline helps my writing flow quicker and allows less time for disruptive doubtful thoughts. This is all part of the journey to being better!
- Chat with someone who is raw, honest and a good listener. My go-to person is my cousin who has a way better handle on the gamut of mental health than I do. She’s awesome at getting to the source of any issue and providing positive solutions. Be careful with who you share your doubts! Choose someone that you trust and is objective. If not, you’ll run the risk of biased views that can lead to a greater downward spiral of doubts.
What About You?
How do you handle the doubts that come into your head?