Once I reached a certain level of maturity, weren't the monsters hiding in my closet and under my bed supposed to no longer exist? Armed with experience and confidence, at this point, I should've banished the scary creatures from my world forevermore. At least, that's what I assumed. I was wrong.
Every writer struggles with self-doubt, but I thought maybe once I landed an agent it would ease. No. Well, surely after I secured a contract the annoying animal would leave me alone. Nope. Okay...it's now six months out from my release, I have an amazing cover, and am starting book two. I should definitely not be dealing with self-doubt. Ha!
The truth is, no matter what goals we attain or what levels of success we achieve in our writing journeys, self-doubt will be there. The clever beasty's tentacles will slither around us when we're least expecting it and pull us down into the inky waters of fear. But we can't let it.
Whether you are working on your first manuscript, are in the querying trenches, out on submission to editors, or are published, USE that self-doubt! It's tempting to pull out your lightsabers and phasers to obliterate the gnarly monster, but don't. Let me explain...
Make that self-doubt propel you forward. Turn the doubt into questions, self-criticism, examination, and awareness. Make that self-doubt push your creativity beyond your comfort zone. Because if we're in a comfortable place, we're not learning or growing.
If the self-doubt stops attacking then aren't we done pursuing to be better than we are? There is never an "end" or "pinnacle" when in the creative arts. If we have all the confidence in the world, we're satisfied, and self-doubt isn't lurking in the shadows, there isn't room for growth and we're done striving for more.
If you are truly passionate about writing, I challenge you to not kill the self-doubt creature, but put a leash on it and make it your pet. Tame it and use it as a conduit to a better you and a stronger writer. Self-doubt is natural but don't let it paralyze you with fear, harness it with courage and use it.