Every writer gets the blues from time to time. You know what I mean: the pervasive feeling that what you’re writing isn’t any good. Even the best writers suffer from this ailment from time to time.
Self doubt is part of the process but that doesn’t mean it’s fun. When I start to really struggle with my inner critic, I have a few strategies to fall back on to keep me from deleting everything on my hard drive in despair.
1. A good book
Whether it’s a book that relates to my own writing, or simply something that’s immersive and fun, a book I love always takes me out of my depressing thoughts, at least for a little while. Truly great books also inspire me to do better and write harder, which helps me get back onto the keyboard after I’ve been moping for a while.
I’m lucky to have a handful of friends and family members who cheer me on when the going gets rough. My mother is always willing to lend a supportive ear. (love you Mom!) There are also a few writers who help me through the tough times. Jeanne Marcella and Nikki Belaire are always in my corner, for which I’m incredibly grateful.
3. Build up that confidence
I’m going to admit it. Sometimes, when someone gives me a heartfelt, glowing compliment, I copy it and keep it in a little folder of notes. For me, looking back on those isn’t an ego trip as much as it’s a reminder that what I’m doing is worthwhile and that not all of it sucks all the time.
4. Remember why we do it
In Letters to A Young Poet, Ranier Maria Rilke answers a young man who has asked if he has any future as a writer, if his work is any good. Rilke replies: “No one can advise and help you, no one.” He goes on to say that a writer must “go within” and ask themselves the most important question: “Must I write?”
I always say yes. And then I get back to the keyboard.
Featured image: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons