Writers, Kick Self-Doubt in the Bum!

Everyone experiences self-doubt now and then. It’s part of being human, and writers are not exempt from this. In fact, I would go as far as to say that writers probably experience self-doubt more than other people. This is because we create things by transforming abstract ideas into concrete, readable words; and this makes us prone to criticism – whether constructive or not.



Self-doubt may kick in in different situations:

  • you have a new client;
  • your existing client has a different type of material he wants written;
  • you’re working on a topic you haven’t worked on before;
  • or you simply just feel that you may not be good enough.

Remember: self-doubt is normal BUT it doesn’t mean you have to let it take control and paralyze you.

When self-doubt kicks in, I’ve learned that there are certain things one can do and/or think in order to get back on track, and that’s what I want to share with you today.

Kicking self-doubt to outer space

Remember when you were a newbie writer, and look at where you are now.

Go back to the time when you were first sending out queries and application letters. You probably had your fair share of rejection letters, but you got a break at some point. How much work have you done since then? How many clients have told you they are happy with your work?

Look for those self-boosting moments in your writing career, dwell on them, and watch self-doubt fly away.

Also read: Three Things to Help You Bounce Back When You Feel Like a Failure

Write something for fun.

If self-doubt still hangs around even though you’ve thought back on your successes as a writer, why not stop focusing on your work for a while? Ask yourself, what do you like writing about – just for the fun of it?

Maybe you like writing short fairy tales. Or maybe you like writing poems.

Whatever makes you feel good, write it!

Don’t think about your clients. Don’t think about what your peers would say. Just write, and have fun. At the end of it all, you’ll feel so much better that self-doubt will have no choice but to go away.

Find someone who needs a mentor.


If you have been writing for some years (or even just months), and you experience self-doubt, then one way to deal with it is to find someone else who could use your help. Participate in forums for writers, Google Plus or Facebook Groups for writers, and similar venues. For sure, there will be at least one person who needs a mentor.

Offer your services, and share what you have learned. That writer will probably express his gratitude in a way that self-doubt gets a good kick up its bum.

Accept failure as part of life.

Acceptance is the first part of any recovery. If you doubt yourself because of a recent failure, accept that it is simply part of life. Lows will occur. You will let others down. You will fail.

What matters, though, is that you accept that these things happen. When you do, you will get up more easily – and faster – and ignore self-doubt more efficiently.

Your turn

Have you been experiencing self-doubt lately? How did you deal (are dealing) with it? Let’s help each other out by sharing your experiences and advice in the comments!


11 responses
  1. clee Avatar

    Thanks! I totally needed this article! 😀

    1. Noemi Tasarra-Twigg Avatar
      Noemi Tasarra-Twigg

      My pleasure! Trust in yourself. 🙂

  2. Paul Avatar

    It is true that writers (artists) are more prone to self-doubt. I think one of the main problems is that, in life, people tend to focus more on the negative feedback they receive than on the praise directed toward them. People don’t accept positive comments easily. Tell someone, “Fantastic presentation today” and their first thought – before saying thank you – is “Was it really that good?” I guess it’s an issue of trust. Perhaps we need to learn to trust others and to trust ourselves. Believe that you are as amazing as people say you are. Accept that you are a great writer and continue trying to make it a reality everyday. Great post Noemi! Believe it!


    1. Noemi Tasarra-Twigg Avatar
      Noemi Tasarra-Twigg

      Thanks, Paul. Your comment reminds me of how I used to be uncomfortable receiving compliments. Instead of merely saying thank you, I would say something similar to your example. I learned to overcome that over the years, but yes, trusting in ourselves is paramount. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Philip Fulu Avatar
    Philip Fulu

    Hi guys,
    I believe I am a good writer going by the comments I get from clients.
    My problem however is short attention span. At times I manage to do a piece of work in 3hours but other times I can even take 3days to do the same piece. I wonder how I can correct this.
    A friend suggested that I listen to music while writing. I have never tried this because I have the feeling that music distracts attention (I don’t have any in my laptop yet). Do you think I should try it out? What other things should I do to get more focus?

    1. Noemi Tasarra-Twigg Avatar
      Noemi Tasarra-Twigg

      Try music that serves as background “noise” to you – classical music or soothing music. If you like rock, then try it out. Also, turn off all distractions like Twitter, Facebook, etc. As in: logout!

    2. Paul Avatar

      Hi Philip,

      This may be a little tough to hear, but I think the problem isn’t really the attention span or an inability to focus or even music. I think it has to do more with discipline. It is great that your clients like your work. But there will come a time when you will have to deliver that great work within a certain deadline. Will that motivate you to concentrate till you finish or will you send apology emails to your client? Someone once said, “Either suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret”. You have to train your mind to focus. Like Noemi said, turn off all the distractions. When you find your mind wandering, tell yourself to get back to work. Over time, you will realize that focussing on your work (being in the moment) has become a habit. All the best Philip and I hope to come across your articles some day.

      1. Philip Fulu Avatar
        Philip Fulu

        Point taken.
        I wouldn’t deny it. It does have something to do with self discipline. Let me see how I can work on it.
        Thank you Paul

  4. Philip Fulu Avatar
    Philip Fulu

    I will try it out rock and see. Hell yeah! Facebook used to grab attention long ago but I got over it with time.
    Thanks Noemi


    Hi Noemi Tasarra

    I thank God for the far he has taken you. I am also moved by your example and thanks for encouraging others.

    i am a copywriter and am interested in article writing though i fear that i may not do it the way its supposed to be done. want to start online writing jobs on artilces but my fear is av never written one.

    kindly would do assist me to do it as i apply for job.

    looking forward to your positive response.


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