WHEN it comes to writing, and this includes journal writing, we all have times when we second-guess or doubt ourselves — usually when we’re well into a project or have embarked on a new commitment. Looking ahead, the task or commitment seems daunting, overwhelming. At that point, we may begin to question our abilities to complete what we set out to do. Or we question the approach we decided to take. Or, even, why we thought we should do it in the first place (What was I thinking!).
In my experience the very best way to move through those periods of writing-related insecurity — well, any form of self-doubt, actually — is to write about it. Here’s how:
- Write the truth about how you feel; don’t even try to make yourself feel better. Then write about other times you’ve felt this way. What happened? Did you quit or did you forge ahead? What would you have changed about your response, if anything, and what have you learned in the past about the way you generally handle your insecurities?
- Have an on-paper conversation with yourself. Make a statement, then respond to it. And so on. Until you’ve come to a sense of clarity.
- Draw a line down the middle of your page to make two columns. In the left-hand column, list everything that could go wrong. Then in the right-hand column, list what you can do to avoid or “fix” that thing. (Sometimes the answer is to ask for help).
- Write affirmations. Write down all the reasons you are going to succeed with the project, task, or commitment. Write down the qualities and abilities you have that give you assurance. Repeat these affirmations to yourself on a daily basis.
- Pretend Doubt is a person and tell him off! First, write down what you want to say, then read it aloud. You might be surprised with the results.
Above all, keep writing. You will make it through the period of self-doubt and on to success.
Photo by Damian Gadal