Battling Self Doubt

This week, CWC member and author of the Fox Halt Farm series, Celia Moore, talks about something that all writers will recognise: the fear our writing is rubbish and no-one will want to read it.

“Courage is not the absence of fear but the acting in spite of it”

Mark Twain

“As I write this I am waiting for the return of my novel from my proof reader and my stomach is upside down. I feel sick with gut wrenching worry about what she will say? I am sweating! It’s crazy I know, but no matter how I try to tell myself not to be so ridiculous, the feeling won’t go away. So why am I writing this now? Well it is taking my mind off the irrational fear of her impending email, and I am sure there are many other people out there who suffer anxiety so I felt sharing how I feel right now might be helpful.

I am a positive person, who loves rolling up their sleeves and having a go at anything; not necessarily concerned about getting something right first time but always ready to give it my best shot. Yet I find the worry and anxiety I have about what others think of my writing uncomfortable and hard to manage. I am desperate to learn, I want feedback to make my tale-telling the best it can be however; receiving feedback never seems to get any easier. I try to view comments and hints how to improve as a precious gift because I know how hard it is for me to criticise others, but still…

Maybe it is because I appreciate I am a novice still and I hold others who have been writing, or professionally involved in writing, for so much longer in such high esteem – but then, I am the same when anyone tells me they are reading my book, secretly crossing my fingers hoping they will love it. The fear of someone judging me by my work, not who I actually am; but my writing is such a reflection of me! Desperate for something that is so important to me to be valued by others, and to be good enough that I should keep going on my quest to improve my stories and my story telling.

I don’t want to feel insecure about not being good enough as a writer. I can’t bear to think about giving up or failing because I love creating stories to share with others. I suppose it is the subjective nature of whether a reader likes my writing that is so hard. Different people just like different things. It’s not like making an engine to do a particular task where the effectiveness and craftmanship can be judged by whether it does the job. That’s a measurable quality; not like the emotion, realness or thought provokingness of a tale. A story that I dream about and put my mind and heart into creating, bearing my soul, my hopes and fears, joys and loves in order to convey it well.

I need to say how much better I am feeling now, having written this, and how putting my thoughts down in a rational way has eased my worries. I need to be kind to myself, recognising the fear but carrying on through. Appreciating self doubt lives inside everyone who desperately cares about what they do.”

Celia Moore


Filed under Creative, Member News, Training, Viewpoint, Writers' resources

2 responses to “Battling Self Doubt

  1. I know how you feel Celia. One thing you wrote struck a chord, ‘Different people like different things’. So read criticism selectively: take heed of comments which work for you and improve your writing but forget those you disagree with. It’s your story..

  2. jeangrimsey

    Celia – you have put into words what so many people who write (or paint, or pot or do anything else creative) feel. I am so jealous of people who win poetry competition prizes or have collections published, knowing too well that you have to put your work out there for this to happen. About once a month I take a deep breath and send poems to maybe two or three competitions. And I talk about maybe one day publishing (if any publishing house will have me) or self-publishing a short collection. Probably the bravest thing I do these days is read my own work at Open Mics – the applause is great! You have gone many stages further on – your work is great. Tell yourself that every morning. x

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