It's okay to doubt. But it's not required to be a good writer.

Sometimes, it's a wonder any of us are confident enough to embark on the writing journey. First, the weight of everything you don't know can make writing feel hard. Are you working on the right piece? How will it come together? Will it be any good?

Or, progress comes in fits and starts. In an instant, you go from feeling energized by an idea to feeling hopeless, your inner critic judging your work before you've finished.

And then, what about those times that you share your work only to have it fall flat? That kind of sting takes a long time to fade.

I used to think that doubting was form of protection. A way to lessen the emotional blow of all those ups and downs.

If I thought about everything that could go wrong, or I downplayed my belief in my abilities, I wouldn't look bad if I failed. "I saw this coming," I could say. But it's hard to write well if you're constantly hedging your bets. Now I focus on these truths instead:

 

*LACK OF CERTAINTY IS NOT FAILURE. 

If you don't know what happens next or how a story will end, that does not mean it's doomed to fail. You will find the clarity of thought you need as you write.

*YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT QUALITY WHILE YOU'RE WRITING--ESPECIALLY THE FIRST DRAFT.  

That inner critic? It's posing as the voice of wisdom, but it's really the voice of fear. It's protecting you from failure, but you need the freedom to write badly in order to write well.

*BAD FEEDBACK DOES NOT MEAN YOU'RE A BAD WRITER

It means you showed your work to someone who wasn't experienced at giving helpful, thoughtful guidance. Feedback isn't about good or bad, it's about helping you work toward a goal.

Of course, each of these mindsets takes practice. It's through experience that you'll be able to trust them, but it's worth the effort.

When you feel good about writing you will write more, write better, and your work will get noticed.