Don’t Be Hard on Yourself (For Writers)

dontbehardonyourself

Lately, people have been telling me not to be so hard on myself. Even people online have been telling me the same thing.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know I’m hard on myself about writing. When I was on the train today, I started thinking about this.

If you have a goal, especially one you are passionate about, then you may be prone to toxic thoughts. What are toxic thoughts? Well, thoughts about self-doubt are negative thoughts.

Many of you have told me you’re passed feeling self-doubt about your writing. Maybe that’s because you are older than me and have more experience, I don’t know. However, I do know negative thoughts are real, and every writer has them. If you are hard on yourself to be a great writer, then stop, now! Being overly critical of yourself isn’t a solution, and it’s more detrimental than helpful. How do I know? Because that’s me – that’s my personality in a nutshell. When I am passionate about something, I try to be the best I can.

However, trying to be the best has led me to some dark places. For example:

  1. In despair, I have removed my stories
  2. I’ve deleted manuscripts
  3. I’ve lost fellow writer friends from jealousy
  4. I’ve lost readers because I’m wishy-washy with my stories

In some ways, it’s interesting. I never tried to be well-known on WordPress, and I just wrote posts for my own enjoyment. However, for my writing, I write to find an audience. Do you see where I am getting at here? Write because you enjoy it.

I know it’s hard, trust me. In today’s world of social media – Wattpad, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and various other websites, it’s hard not to feel competitive. It seems everywhere we go online, it’s a contest.

Who has the best story?

Who writes the best?

Who is more likely to get published?

The world is shifting (the online world anyway) – it doesn’t really seem about quality as it does quantity. The more you post, the more attention you get. The more stories you write, the more readers will find you. If you disagree with me, then please feel free to comment.

The point of this post is – please, don’t be so hard on yourself. There is only so much time in the day to write, to live, to work, to study, and to give social media your attention.

Even Stephen King said:

“There have been times when for me the act of writing has been a little act of faith, a spit in the eye of despair.”

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft (p. 249). Scribner. Kindle Edition.

I feel that way, a lot! And re-reading Stephen King’s book on writing helped me to feel better. Remember, we all want to succeed; I know I do, but we need to take a step back, exhale, and say, “I won’t be hard on myself.”

P.S. I really need to start taking my own advice 😛

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24 thoughts on “Don’t Be Hard on Yourself (For Writers)

  1. Good advice, the tough part for all of us I think is following it! And it doesn’t matter how successful you get (unless maybe you are Steven King) there is always someone ‘better’ or ‘more popular’ to compare yourself to!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Loving all the advice. Of course there will be good days and bad days but we all have to be comfortable within ourselves and writing and stop judging ourselves. I know I’ve had moment’s where I’ve doubted myself and then someone else has come along and helped me to realize that it isn’t all that bad. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so generous to reach out to others when you are in the process of bolstering your own sense of (writing) worth. I really do agree that being hard on oneself is a defeatist mentality that will suck all the joy out of creating with words. I really appreciate your integrity and honesty…you are a wonderful writer with a wonderful heart…that is everything…the rest will come in its own time…probably when you least expect it. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good post and solid advice.

    That quality vs quantity point caught my eye. While I think you’re on to something there, I feel that quality still matters as much as, if not more than, quality. Because you could write 10 posts a day of mediocre quality or write 1-2 great posts per day, and I’d bet that you’ll get more followers, comments and likes (in the long run) doing the latter.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. Anyways, your posts are all stellar pretty much, so you don’t have much to worry about dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There will always be good days and then those bad days. There will always be self-doubt, but like Stephen King says, you spit in the eye of despair and you keep going. What’s the alternative? Waiting until your last moment on earth to say, “I wish I did that thing I’d always wanted to do?”

    Even when things are going good with my writing, when I’m on a roll, it’s always balanced with days when I’m not, when I delete whole blogs and whole stories off Wattpad because no one was reading. Even when I’m launching my novel, there’s always that voice that nags me and says, “you could have done better, like so-and-so who’s got thousands more followers than you, who ranks higher than you on Amazon, who has the “bestselling author” above her name. It never ends, but you keep going because sometimes there is no other thing in this world I’d rather do but write 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can relate to this post, as I’m highly self-critical too. You’re right, it doesn’t help us to get better – being more accepting of ourselves is a much better way to learn and grow. It’s not an easy habit to change, but I’m trying. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post and I agree with what you mentioned. It’s seems to be about who is the best? It can make us crazy! I have to remind myself I enjoy writing and throw the negative self talk out.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yeah, I think a lot (probably most) writers go through these bouts of self-doubt. Being able to see how other writers around you are doing in real time via social media just makes it that much more challenging.

    I have my highs and my lows. When I’m feeling down about my writing or overall success/lack thereof, I remind myself that I write for myself above all else. Someone asked me yesterday how i find time to write given that my job keeps me really busy. I told them writing is like my lifeline – it keeps me sane and helps me feel in control in a world where I don’t generally feel that way about much else. Reminding myself of that really helps me feel better when I’m being hyper-critical of my own work,

    Great post! I hope the time you’ve been reflecting has been helpful for you!

    Like

  9. About the PS to your post – it made me chuckle, because it is so hard sometimes to take one’s own advice. And as Maggiederrik above says we write for ourselves first and foremost and I suspect for many of us it is a kind of lifeline. It’s tough though, and challenging, but also so exciting and rewarding in and of itself.

    Like

  10. Your PS line was hilarious. 😀
    Loved the article. 🙂
    It resonates the truth which most of us either surpasses by without paying any attention or try to suppress once we know it.

    Like

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