I have written about this before, but I seem to lack the sense of self-doubt–and occasionally borderline loathing–that many of my fellow writers’ experience. I’ve had some accuse me of either lying to myself or just outright lying. Some writers cannot fathom that any writer doesn’t experience any level of self-doubt in either their ability as a writer or in a piece that they have written.
I know I’m not the only writer like this, but I do feel we are a small minority. I started to think about what makes me different from the vast majority of other writers, and I think I have a theory. Most writers need to share the stories they write with the world. They write as a means of seeking other’s approval, at least on some level. In which case, they write to please others and self-doubt can creep in when they worry that what they are writing may not please anyone.
My approach to writing is very different, and my motivation to write comes from a different place. When I started writing fiction in 2015, it was to fill in gaps or fix storyline plots in other people’s stories. I began by writing fan fiction, but most importantly, I began by writing the stories I wanted to see. When I came up with the premise for my first novel, it was again a story I wanted to read. It’s a story that didn’t exist, and so I decided to write it. I didn’t write it with the intention of seeking other people’s approval. I wrote the story for myself, and I know what I like, so no self-doubt crept into my mind as I was writing it.
That’s not to say that the first draft was perfect, but the core of the story was the story I wanted to tell.
Another thing that may make me a little different is that I love the entire writing process. Everything from planning, to writing, to revising and editing. I love every step in that process. So, once I finished writing the story I wanted, I was able to go back and have all the fun playing with it, making edits and changes to polish and refine the story further. I wasn’t editing for anyone else, just myself. Even after I gave the manuscript to my beta readers and received their feedback, I only incorporated the change that fit with my vision of the story.
Will that make for a best-selling novel? I have no idea. Maybe not. However, that’s not why I wrote it. I wrote it for myself. If I do publish it and people do enjoy it, that is icing on the cake for me. I already feel like a successful author, not because I’ve been published or made any sales. I feel like a success because not only did I write an entire novel, I wrote the novel I wanted to write.
So, if you find yourself doubting your writing, step back for a moment and consider who you’re writing for; Try to write for yourself first.