So often, I wonder about habits that a large portion of people have. And I can't think of one thing more commonly experienced throughout the writing community than doubt. I like picking things apart, seeing how they work, why they're even there.
And this is what I've come up with on self doubt.
Personally, I think writing is one of the most vulnerable things a person can do and share. Yes, you usually are writing from the confines of another person's mind, but I think you pour a lot of yourself into your characters. Not necessarily traits, but thoughts, things close to your heart and mind.
Sharing your writing, whether it's a short story or a novel, is a leap of faith. It's a brave thing to do. You're sharing so much of your mind and soul with someone who doesn't even realize it. It's a story, but you're part of it. The characters are your friends. Their home becomes a second home. You know their world like the back of your hand. It's all highly personal.
But this isn't a post about why it's hard to share your work.
My point is, your novel is intertwined with your mind, all of your personal thoughts and emotions and, occasionally, actual experiences are laid out for all to see. And that's a hard thing to share for a lot of people.
If someone judges your shoes, that'll likely feel bad. However, if someone were to judge your mind, your deepest thoughts, and didn't like what they saw, you'd probably feel a lot worse than if someone had called your shoes ugly.
People have this undying urge to fit in, to be accepted. A lot of people hide a lot of their thoughts from others for that reason. No one wants to be the kid who has no friends.
When you write a novel, you're sharing a large portion of something that's highly personal and it's scary for other people to be able to see it and judge it as they want to. You're letting someone into your brain. You're just letting them look around, roam and rummage, and they can slap a label on every one of your thoughts and call it stupid or cliche or weird.
And that's a scary thing.
So, if you're letting anybody read what you've written, know that you're incredibly brave, even though it may not sound like it.
To me, doubting your writing is nothing but being afraid to share your thoughts with the world. A lot of people compare themselves to other writers, doubt their skill, but that's just comparing your brain to another writer's brain. It's all hard.
But you can do it.
I believe in you.