Back to Back Issues Page
Overcoming writers' self-doubt: Editor's Notes #375
October 05, 2022

We just have to be better than we were yesterday.
—Magda Górska

In this issue:

1. Overcoming writers’ self-doubt
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1.Overcoming writers’ self-doubt
Many, possibly most, writers suffer from self-doubt. Self-doubt differs from self critique. When we critique our own work, we feel motivated to make improvements. When we suffer from self-doubt, we feel paralyzed, fear the unknown, and lose our motivation to write.

There are many sources of self-doubt. If your case is seriously debilitating, you may want to explore your personal sources of self-doubt with someone experienced in counselling. What follows are four things you can do to move past self-doubt.
  • First, recognize you are not alone. Dorothy Parker published poetry, satire, short stories, criticism, and essays. Two of her screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards. She was riddled with self-doubt throughout her career. She is only one example of a famous artist, including admired writers, who battled debilitating self-doubt. Feelings of self-doubt are unreliable when it comes to evidence of your worth.

  • Search out and treasure those who offer support, advice, or coaching. When you find someone whose approach lifts you up, spend time with that person.

  • Return to enjoyable activities. Self-doubt about our writing can permeate other areas of our lives. Putting the joy back into other areas of life strengthens us against the onslaught of artistic self-doubt.

  • Set specific goals related to your writing. Take small steps, and celebrate your success. Repeat into belief the Magda Górska quote that opens this issue. Improvement gives hope of further improvement. In the end, recognize that even publication may not erase self-doubt (see comments about Dorothy Parker above). Learn to take joy in small successes and see them as worth the effort.

If you are one of the writers blessed with a strong sense of your worth as a writer, be aware that even other "successful" writers in your life may be fighting a battle with self-doubt. Share words of encouragement and the gift of your time simply to enjoy the company of the other person.

A sample edit gives you a professional opinion on your writing with an eye to helping you improve specific areas. It is soft on writers and tough on text, building you up while challenging you to reach higher.

2.Tickled my funny bone
This from a medical chart. Skin: somewhat pale, but present.

3. Interesting Web site
From the horse’s mouth, 6 Famous Artists Talk About What It’s Like to Overcome Fear and Create Beauty

4. Writing prompt
Revisit a happy writing past. You may not remember the first time you successfully marked a surface with a crayon, but there was some time when communicating on paper was pure joy. Write about that experience.

Join Writer's Helper Facebook page at
Follow me on Twitter @AudreytheEditor

Link on LinkedIn (Email me first so I know how you know me.)

If you know a writer who would appreciate receiving Editor's Notes, forward this issue.

If someone has passed this on to you, you can get your own free subscription by signing up at

Back to Back Issues Page