Boy oh boy, do I struggle with self-doubt sometimes, especially when it is something that I really want in life, like becoming a published author of children’s books (middle grade & YA). I attended a writer’s workshop recently and listened to published science fiction author, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, wax and wane about the long and sometimes difficult road to publishing. “There are many fish in the pond now,” Danielle told us, “And if you don’t work really hard, and manage to have some luck thrown in, it’s just not going to happen.”
I already had doubts about my skills as a writer, since I’m untried and untested, but now with so many wannabe writers flooding the market, making the competition intense (getting published is like winning the lottery nowadays), I started to shrink in my seat to the size of Mrs. Potato head and felt like her too. The self-doubt monster sat on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. “You’ll never find a publisher now, who are you kidding? Do something else, this is way too hard, too much work and for what?”
Now, Danielle did offer all of us at the workshop some sage advice, such as start thinking of your writing as a hobby instead of a career, at least until you are published. That did help. A little. But self-doubt has a way of showing up no matter what affirmations I tell myself. My fear of failing is always lurking in the back of my mind, and Damn it to H-E-double toothpick, I really want to be a published writer! So I devised a plan to slay this monster for good, or keep it in chains until it breaks loose again.
Enter the DOUBT CLOSET. Every time that I feel a doubt I tell it to go into the designated closet and slam the door shut. And then I will say quietly myself or out loud (not in public places unless you want people to think you have turrets syndrome or something. Come to think of it, that actually sounds like fun, but would probably land me in a straight jacket), the exact opposite, thereby making a positive statement and slaying Mr. Doubt Monster.
Yeah, that works.