Writers deal with self-doubt all of the time and I know because I get those calls from clients when they reach the finish line, when all the words have been written and the book has really taken shape where the niggling feeling of "this is not my best work" comes into play. All it takes is one critique partner to not enthusiastically react to the work the way the author had hoped to send them into a corner, knees drawn up wondering if they should ever write another word.
Writers are not the only ones. I can't speak for other agents when I say this but I can assure you that there are many days where I wonder if I'm good enough. Can I do this? Can I really live off 15%? Can I sell this manuscript to New York? Can I get my client what they deserve? Can I... can I... can I?
|My mantra on a post-it note|
I think the most frustrating part of self-doubt, at least for me, is that little voice in the background saying, "are you kidding me?" See, that little voice is usually broadcasting loud and clear when I'm on my "good" days about how bad-ass I am. There's never a sense of doubt when that little voice gets to take over the mic, center stage and remind everyone of what I'm able to do. It's the voice I allow front and center when I'm talking with clients, editors, coworkers, family and since it never really leaves it's frustrating to know the voice is there and I just can't hear it as loudly as I need to when I need it most.
When my clients are going through these moments of self-doubt and need someone to "talk 'em off the ledge" they call me. I don't always stroke egos but I soothe their minds and remind them of how good they are. We talk for a little while (or sometimes a long while) and I don't hang up until I know they're feeling well enough to get back to their computers and finish the book. I'm lucky to have a husband who is my "talk me down" guy. He doesn't stroke my ego either, just helps me remember who I am. Sometimes that's all we need. Someone to remind us of what we are and what we can do.
I CAN DO ANYTHING I SET MY MIND TO.
How do you deal with self-doubt? How do you combat it?