Seriously. What gives?
I’m not complaining about writing posts people like to read. It took me a long time to figure out how to do that (and it’s a continuous learning process).
But really? The more doubt I feel, the more success I have?
Granted, correlation does not equal causation. Research suggests the more confident you are, the better you perform.
Confidence is weird. So is being a writer.
If you’ve experienced this, well, I have a few theories about why this might happen. And if I’m the only one who has this problem, I’m still going to write about it anyway. I find these things probably more fascinating than I should.
It could have something to do with risk. Yesterday, for example. I let my evil twin Greg post on my blog even though I knew it would probably be an absolute train wreck. It turned out not to be as awful as I’d expected. Sometimes we just go all out and try different things to see what sticks. It’s terrifying. Many times, though, it actually works out in our favor. Fear clouds are judgment. We don’t think we’re going to succeed. And when we do, we have a harder time understanding why what we wrote didn’t suck as bad as we expected it to.
Or maybe we need to learn to listen to our ideas more. The phrase “go with your gut” actually holds some meaning. While it’s true that we sometimes return to recent ideas and decide not to move forward with them, when it comes to deciding whether or not to publish something, I think many of us know deep down what the right choice is. If an idea says, “Publish me!” and I don’t see the harm in doing so, why not? Most of the time, the worst that could happen is that people either don’t click on a post, they unfollow you, or they leave some mean-spirited remarks. Hey – you tried.
Honestly, let’s just let ourselves be terrible. Sometimes, I don’t know if an idea is good until I toss it out into the open to see how people react. It’s a disadvantage of having a small audience. When I went what I personally perceived to be a diversity rant last weekend, I was legitimately afraid that I wasn’t being clear, or that I was saying something wrong. Of course, what I had to say wasn’t as “out there” as my stupid anxious brain convinced me it was.
Oh, right. That anxiety thing. Yeah, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tossed and turned the night before a blog post went live because I was so worried about it. Anxiety is something you have to learn to handle in whatever way works best for you. Half the time I kind of just downplay my own fear and regret until it doesn’t feel real (because it isn’t). Then I write a whole bunch of words and try my best not to care about all the ways people might or might not react to them. Honestly, this is just part of who I am. It makes concentrating hard, but I make it work. I make writing happen, even though most of the time I’m convinced everything I’m saying is nonsense.
Thank you for giving everything I have to say a chance. I really do appreciate it. If you’re like me, and you can’t ever seem to figure out why what you’re doing is working – well, welcome to the blogging life. Does anyone really have any of this figured out?
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.