Writing Life

Self-Doubt – Why I’m not an Instagram-Perfect Writer

This is my first post in 2019. Wow, can you believe that?

I promise, I want to get on track with blogging soon. But for now, I’m distancing myself from it.

The past few years have been pretty big for me, writing-wise. (Outside of writing as well, but that’s a post for another day.)

Almost three years ago, I had the idea to write my very first historical fiction novel. It was a wild idea at the time. After all, I’d only ever written in the realm of fantasy/science-fiction/dystopian. To write something historical was a stretch for me.

Flash forward to mid-NaNoWriMo 2016. I’d fallen deliriously in love with my 1940s novel, and I decided I would do something with this one. I began editing January 1, 2017.

This is relevant, I promise.

Now, it’s important to remember that I have struggled with this novel from day one.

The very first day of writing, I was bored out of my mind with this story. On day four, I distinctly remember wanting to quit. I thank God I didn’t.

I rewrote the book (because all good editing consists of rewriting) from April to October 2017. And to be honest, everything I’ve done since then is a blur.

If you asked what big changes I made to my book in 2018, I wouldn’t know how to answer. All I know is that I worked harder on this project than I have on anything.

Okay, now cut forward to more recent times.

Now it’s around November/December. Just a few months ago. I begin taking on more projects – I try to release a blog post every Monday, keep up with my social medias, plan my novel, and work on a project I still have yet to announce.

I read through my novel. It still isn’t good enough yet. I decide to rewrite it a second time, but with a twist: switching the point of view to another character entirely.

So I plan the book. I buy a nice binder, I write the specifics of all my subplots, I spend a few hours a night brainstorming with a friend to get enough ideas to fill this novel.

Things look hopeful. I can do this. My book will be better than ever, I tell people.

Then January first arrives: the day I plan to start writing all my exciting new ideas and prospects for an old story.

I go up to my bedroom. I’m up there for two, maybe three hours. At the end of the day, my friend texts me, How’s the writing going?

My response: I didn’t write today. I’ll try again tomorrow.

But I don’t write tomorrow.

Or the next day.

Or the next.

Friends and acquaintances ask me, “How’s your book going?!” and “What have you been writing lately?”

I say it’s going well. I give a vague explanation about “what I’ve been writing,” because heaven forbid I actually appear to struggle.

I get out of the house, go write at my favorite coffee shop downtown. It’s a quiet, hipster café connected to an old hotel that I just adore.

I do manage to write some words, but my goodness, I hated them. I don’t like to use the word ‘hate,’ but I really did hate what I wrote. I closed my laptop and left the café worse off than I arrived.

Suddenly, it’s all falling apart. What if I’m wasting my time by rewriting? What if changing all of this was unnecessary? What if this never pans out? What if I’m not good enough?

What if I’m not good enough?

That clicks in my head. Cliché as it may be, it’s difficult to escape a thought like that.

The truth is, I’m not good enough. But God is. And I’m rewiring my brain to remember that on the daily.

Self-doubt is truly awful. Even if you aren’t a writer, you know what I’m talking about.

I haven’t been aware of it, but this struggle has been building for a long time. For a while, I couldn’t even sleep through the night. (I am now, thankfully!) It was hard for me to write this post, honestly.

It’s even harder when you see other writers on Instagram who have this all figured out. They’re younger than I am, yet they’re publishing their books after only six months of work total. I wonder, am I doing something wrong?

No. I’m not.

I have to remember that people aren’t going to show their actual selves online. Why would we do that, when it’s so much easier to say we have it all together?

I’m guilty of that, myself. I’m tired of pretending I’m a perfect, wonderful writer who works super hard on her future bestseller. I’m tired of answering “how’s your editing going?” with “it’s going good!”

I’m happy to say I’m taking a break from my novel; as well as other projects, including my blog. It’s been three weeks as of February 13, and I’ve been feeling so much better.

In the meantime, I’m pantsing a “for fun” middle-grade fantasy novel, which is stress-free and has been much more enjoyable than I expected! It’s incredibly freeing to write without worrying that what you’re writing is crap.

It’s safe to expect a brief blogging hiatus. However, I’m still active on my social medias! If you wanna check em out, they’re linked at the end of this post.

If you’re reading this: thank you! You read through this whole post, personal as it is. I appreciate that.

As always; happy writing.

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

6 thoughts on “Self-Doubt – Why I’m not an Instagram-Perfect Writer

  1. You have no idea how encouraging that was. And even if it was hard, I’m sure it was good to get that out there. I’ve been doing the same thing, and I can almost see the blank computer screen when I’m falling asleep.

  2. Sam, this post was one of your greatest. It was just what I needed right now! Working on my novel, it’s so hard to be able to fit scenes together like a puzzle and make sure my characters are perfect…Just to realize that it’ll never be good enough for my writer brain! God is the only one that is truly good through and through and you beautifully portrayed that in this post! Well done! Hope to hear more from you soon!

Leave a Reply to Heather Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *