This month I’m writing about self doubt, something I know we all struggle with from time to time, but for me, I get this feeling more frequently than you can imagine. If you know me personally, then you’re laughing at my comment because I appear to be the most confident person on the face of the earth. But the truth is, sometimes I’m not feeling what I portray.
There’s no question it’s a very human emotion, but what it does to us internally is another story. It’s times like these that you think you’re the only one. Well, trust me, you’re not.
I’ve been writing for six years. I was one of those lucky authors you love to hate because my very first finished manuscript was purchased by the very first publisher I’d submitted to. Yeah, I know what you’re saying. This writer must be hot stuff. But let me tell you about the after effects.
While my confidence was soaring, I was on top of the world. And then I came crashing down like a torpedo plummeting into the water missing its target when I received the first rejection after the purchase. I thought for sure my next submission would be welcomed with open arms. It wasn’t. It was rejected three times. But what I did afterward was something I’ve promised myself I’ll never do again. I stopped submitting. Yup, that’s exactly what I did. That old self-doubt just took up residence in my body and it wouldn’t let go.
The good news is I didn’t stop writing, and now, I have four manuscripts I’m flooding the market with, one having been sold two days ago!
When I told our children about my sale, they were all very excited for me. One son said, The only difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is extraordinary determination."
Another promise I’ve made to myself is whenever those self-doubts infringe upon me, I will try to focus more on the positive things I have accomplished. I recently read an article on self-doubt by Alexandra Levit, a columnist for the NY Times. Here are some of the things she's suggested when you're trying to beat self-doubt:
Event Journal: I’m a list maker by nature, but this is something that really works. I take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center and keep track of all the things that went well, no matter how menial I think they are. It could be something as simple as a telephone conversation with a friend, had a good meeting, or I wrote a great paragraph in my current story. The good things go in the left column, and the difficult things go on the right column.
If you do this, at the end of the day, you will no doubt notice that the list of things that went well far outweigh the list of things that didn’t. Are you seeing yourself in a different light now? Hmm, I thought so.
Call on the Cheerleader Angels: My hubby is the head cheerleader in my family. And thank God for that. He knows me well enough to sense when I’m feeling insecure. He’ll sit me down and just start chatting about his day, ask about mine, give me positive feedback even if I’m not jumping up and down. And that’s when he reminds me of all the good things I’ve done. Fortunately, he’s not the only Angel in my life. I have lots of other cheerleader angels too, and I’m thankful for each one of them.
Celebrate your successes: I celebrate every success – for as long as the excitement remains. I think it’s important to reward yourself for a job well done. When I sold Cupid’s Web, I went out and purchased a Dooney and Bourke handbag. Now that I’m not working out of the house, I don’t need as many handbags, but I’ve always had a fetish for them. This purchase is a reminder of what I accomplished, and every time I look at it, I smile—even when I’m down.
Hmm, so what should I buy to celebrate my recent sale? Gucci? Vera Wang?