Why Do So Many Writers Think They’re Bad at Writing?

Are you really as bad at writing as you think you are?

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Do you think you’re a good writer?

It’s OK if you do. Confidence is awesome!

But it’s also OK if you don’t. Because you aren’t the only one. There are so, so many writers who struggle to reach their goals because they don’t think they’re good enough. Why is that?

They keep comparing their work to other writers’ work

Specifically, writers who are already published or further along in their growth as creators.

You simply cannot look at a bestselling book or a popular blog and say “I’m so bad at writing” because those polished pieces look and sound  better than yours. At some point, those books and posts felt and read like yours. You’re simply at an earlier stage in your growth as a writer than the writers you’re basing your skill off of, and that doesn’t really say anything about how you’re doing.

They’re still learning how to handle constructive criticism

For some people, criticism results in a downward spiral of doubt and self-loathing. No shane. Often times, it isn’t that you’re bad at handling negative feedback. You just haven’t learned how to use it constructively yet, and that’s OK.

You’re not bad at writing because someone has told you that you need to work on improving something. That’s actually the best kind of feedback to get — being given something to work toward, instead of staying in the dark and having no idea where you’re at. Don’t look at feedback as a list of things you’re failing at. Look at it as a progress report.

They’re struggling with self-doubt

As someone who deals with self-doubt on a daily basis, I want you to know that yes, this is real, and no, it does not mean you’re never going to make it as a writer.

I don’t think self-doubt is something you ‘get over.’ It’s something you learn to thrive despite. If you hate everything you write and you never know whether or not people are going to like it and that stops you from writing the things you want to write, that’s a problem. But if you think you’re terrible at it but you just keep doing it anyway, that’s a strength. You might think your words aren’t worth anything, but I can guarantee there’s at least one person who disagrees with you. Don’t let your doubt crush your dreams.

There are no bad writers. There are some writers who start writing but never make the effort to level up their skills, and that’s OK. This whole writing thing isn’t for everyone. But honestly, even writers who just go on doing what they’ve always done — whether it’s good or not — are awesome. You do you. Write what you want to write. how you want to write it. Be proud of it. The only way to fail is to never even try.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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One thought on “Why Do So Many Writers Think They’re Bad at Writing?

  1. I believe writers (I can’t speak for everyone, only those who agree, and myself) they think they may be bad at writing because they’re always seeking to improve. Much like artists we’re always looking at our final pieces with an outlook of “never-ending-editing” we’re never satisfied. Regardless of appreciation, popularity, awareness, we’ll always look to be better than ourselves. Our enemy is the mirror.

    I’m an ass*ole as well as a writer and illustrator, so sometimes I think f*** it and I’m done here. Editing and final strokes be damned. But hey, that’s just me, sadly.

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