The Wall of Self-Doubt And Fear

Recently I was asked why I haven’t written more about Ninja-Cat’s story. “You can’t just leave us all hanging,” she told me. And I’ve felt very bad for not having written in a week or so. I think I’m just scared. I’m scared of commiting to something like this because I’m afraid of failing. I go through periods of depression, and when it hits, I suddenly doubt all of my endeavors. I keep telling myself that the only way to be a writer is to write. But, its as if I’ve come up against a wall. What awaits me on the other side? Am I brave enough to climb that wall and find out? My fear says that I’m not good enough, that I can’t and that my writing and artwork simply stinks. And no matter how often I get positive feedback, that damn little gremlin in my mind blocks it from really sinking in. So, I suppose I’m at the temple today looking for understanding. Anyone else ever feel his way? How did you overcome your wall and self-doubt?

15 thoughts on “The Wall of Self-Doubt And Fear”

  1. Ninjacat: absolutely, I’ve felt this way too. I used to think that my stuff was so awful that my friends and family were too embarrassed FOR ME to tell me how bad it was. So I worked it up my mind that I was an awful writer. Then I realized that was a load of BS. I’ve gotten enough affirmation from other sources to know better.

    How do you get rid the self-doubt? You don’t completely, but there are little things you can do to help you get through the bouts. For example, I gave my self-doubt a name, Arvilla, and I write stories about her every once in a while and usually the stories involve my kicking her sorry butt out of my life. You might try doing something similar. Meet the fear and self-doubt head on and give it a thrashing.

    Also, don’t kick yourself if you don’t write EVERY day. I go through spurts where I am researching, writing, and editing every day and posting something several times a week. Then I don’t write anything for a few weeks. I am recharging my batteries. I’m reading and commenting on other people’s posts. That’s just as important as doing your own writing.

    So, don’t stress. You’re normal and doing just fine! 🙂

  2. Well we cannot do much about these self doubts because everyone, including myself and Enchanteur have them. But your work is being prominently featured on the new Advent Calendar so you have little more to prove. You have already succeeded Ninja Cat! 🙂

  3. Don’t worry Ninjacat. I too go for days without writing anything other than comments on other people’s posts. As for self-doubt I’ve learned just to do my own thing and ignore what other people – especially those close to me in the other world – think about my art.

  4. Thanks Ninja Cat for expressing the doubts and fears we all share. We must learn to ‘believe’ in ourselves and like travellor 2006 says ‘egnore what other people think’, and thanks to Heather our ever ‘enchanting encourager’, we shall and do succeed.

  5. I have read the comments here and can tell you that in my humble opinion I’ve looked at all of your posts and seen a wealth of potential just waiting for you to allow your natural talent to blossom into a gorgeous orchard of delight – and depth. You are now ready to be allowed into the inner world of Elder Knowledge – I am the worst, most useless person ever to grace these chambers. The Enchanteur herself knows that even her encouragement doesn’t change how I feel about my attempts at writing and just a few hours ago I deleted all invitations to join Grand, European or any other Quick Guide tour that she’s conjured up for all the talented people to join. My recent posts are things I wrote before I joined SF with a revision or two so in my mind I’m cheating. Never fear that your work will be the dregs in the bottom of the keg because if you look down you’ll see me waving my walking stick and shrieking at you to climb up into the light which is where you and your work belong. I have been seriously considering leaving SF for a few weeks now but my being here means there’s no room in this dark, rat infested place so in some ways I provide a service. Depression – it’s the inner viper, I suggest you strangle it or… lower it down and my Queen of the Vipers will eat it whilst you take yoursef off for a walk and kick a few leaves about and look for red holly berries. Now I have to go because it’s just gone 4pm and I am late for my appointment to beat myself up.


  6. Jan, Thank you so much for the support. However, if you are able to notice the talent in others, it means that talent exists within you too. Otherwise, you wouldnt be able to recognize it. *hugs*

  7. I spent years at Uni reading English Lit and then post graduate studies reading American Lit – my mind is set up to quibble over talented writers. Which Shakespearian sonnet is better than another? Why is the work of the Bronte sisters flawed? T.S. Eliot – is he overly esoteric and mannered or the finest poet of the 20th century? Jan is your writing great, good, mediocre, useless? Ok – sometimes I do rise above useless to the heights of mediocrity. You have commented on my poem ‘Lonely Lady’ – do I assume your comments are worthless because that’s how you feel about your own writing? Incidentally after 5 years of study I still think I’m brainless and completely devoid of perception. No one has ever managed to alter my opinion of my academic credibility. Why do you think your work is poor? Does depression take you and your writing into the dark; does it colour your outlook on the entire world? Is your problem really a lack of talent or depressed moods so severe you would argue the toss if you won the Pulitzer prize? I could be nominted for the Nobel Prize for Literature and I’d think the judges were stupid. Self-esteem – is that what you lack Ninja because if you do nothing anyone says will make you feel better so if I were you I’d just write anyway and let the world view it how they like. Do you love to write? Are you compelled from within to express yourself – if that’s the case just do it for your own pleasure because you enjoy the process. Is it your passion? Yes? Write then and enjoy the passion. I have absolutely no passion for writing and don’t grieve the loss of it because I never felt the burning desire to write. If you love to write Ninja – write – write garbage and have a laugh, but write. Me, I want to watch the cricket – one of my passions.

  8. My comment is awaiting moderation? What’s that about? I just saw it at the top of my previous comment?
    Paranoid Jan

    Hi Jan
    A few of the longer comments come to be moderated because of the huge list of words that were put in to the spam protection system. This will affect everyone darling.
    love Heather

  9. I wonder who invented the concept of “self-doubt”? When you think about it, what is it exactly? It is a question to think about. Soul Food is a place where ALL the writing is great and inspired. ALL.

  10. Self-doubt? Ha! I live, breathe and eat the stuff!! And if I let it rule my life I would never create anything, neither the utterly pretentious nor the mediocre. But I do create and write because I love doing it and it feeds my soul and that is enough for me! Keep writing my dear. We want to hear what you have to say!

  11. Jan,
    A practice that I began in the spring was to rename my inner critic – and invite him (or her) or the whole gang to come sip tea and eat cookies with me. We were tense at first – and it was hard going – but once I listened to them – and allowed them to crawl up into the lap of the Divine Mother of me – they calmed down a lot. For me the key is growing the inner nurturing parent who can love all the skanky parts of us. I know depression – but I no longer resist it or fear it – because I need to go there at times to excavate the muck that keeps my soul light from shining.

    Are there any things you do that bring you joy? If not writing then fingerpainting or skipping And if there is no joy – then – can you ask the dark scary parts of you what they need from you? Perhaps they just need to be loved and heard?

  12. Forgive me Soulwright, my comment was made at a low ebb and with bitterness. Yours, on the contrary, is both positive and sweet. You created quite a debate Ninja, I wonder if your doubts have been assuaged.

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