What is doubt?
When we say we’re experiencing self-doubt, what are we talking about? Self-doubt is, well, doubting yourself. Pretty simple. But I think it’s become a catch-all phrase for beating ourselves up. (And writers tend to do that a lot. Just saying.)
Let’s dissect this, shall we?
- 1. feel uncertain about.
disbelieve…have misgivings about…question…feel uncertain or unsure…hesitate;
Basically, you’re unsure. You’re questioning something (yourself, in this case).
We’d say something like, “I’m not sure this is a good idea.” Or, “I’m not certain I’m up to this.” Or even a flat-out, “I don’t think I can do this.”
Does that sound familiar?
Or does this?
“I’m not submitting my story. I’d never win.”
“This chapter is crap. Forget editing…I’m deleting it.”
“I can’t believe I ever thought I could write.”
“What was I thinking, calling myself an ‘author’? What a joke.”
“Everyone else is so much better.”
“No one will like this.”
“I’m a fraud.”
“I can’t write.”
Does that sound doubtful? Because it sounds pretty UN-doubtful to me. It sounds certain. Which is the opposite of doubt.
It sounds like…judgment.
- 1. form an opinion or conclusion about.
form the opinion, conclude, decide…believe, think, deem…regard as, rate as;
When you form an opinion (whether you think it or voice it), you are judging. Judging yourself, your work, your worth.
When you say these things, with certainty and conviction, you, my friend, do not have self-doubt, you have self-judgment. We need to differentiate between the two, call it what it is, and do something about it.
Do you really have self-doubt? Or are you judging yourself? (I know what I’m doing… And I intend to stop. Easier said than done, but I’m damn sure going to try.)