Here’s a secret: I’m telling the truth.
So many comments on my posts about writing say something along the lines of, “I like to write, I just don’t think I’m very good at it.”
The good news is, this particular roadblock isn’t a very unique one. Everyone struggles with this — feeling like the loudest voice in their heads is the one saying their writing, to put it bluntly, sucks.
But there’s a difference between those who doubt, and crumble, and those who doubt, but hold themselves together long enough to write things down anyway.
I’m going to tell it to you straight, because I don’t think you can ever hear it too many times.
You’re better at writing than you think you are.
You might go months, even years, without anyone telling you that.
You might spend your whole life waiting for someone to prove your self-doubt wrong. But you shouldn’t.
At least some small part of you needs to believe you’re not a terrible writer. Even if it feels like you’re faking it. Even if you’re afraid no one else will ever agree with you.
Because much of what we have to cling to, when we’re evaluating our own creative worth, is ourselves. And the truths and lies we tell ourselves.
Sometimes, there’s a part of you that’s going to try to convince you that you aren’t good enough. That there’s a reason people don’t compliment your work enough. That you’re ridiculous if you truly believe you can make it in this world as a writer, when so many others just like you are walking around convinced of the exact same thing.
You will not always be able to shut that part of you up.
But you can continuously beat it over the head with the truth. Until it’s lies become whispers instead of screams. Until you can almost forget about it completely, though you never will fully.
When I tell you that you’re a better writer than your self-doubt will have you believe, I’m not saying you’re the best writer who has ever lived. I’m not saying you could necessarily pitch an idea to an editor right now and have your work go viral within weeks. No matter who you are, you likely still have a lot of work to do. It takes time to go from wanting to write good things to writing really good things.
But I am here to remind you that you’re likely a lot better at this than anyone who has ever said they wanted to write, yet has barely written a thing in their whole lives.
You might feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. Well, welcome to life as a writer. Half the time, we’re just slapping ink onto paper until something makes sense.
You have to keep going anyway.
No matter what, you have to do the best that you can. Because that’s the only way you can get better.
Better at writing. At coming up with ideas. At creating the things that terrify you, and pouring your heart and soul into them despite the fear and uncertainty.
Can you do that? Can you write, even when you don’t think you’re good at it?
Of course you can. We all do it. It’s those of us who keep doing it, no matter how much our confidence wavers, that go far.
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.