End the Cycle –

Stop Self-doubt from 
Stealing Your Time



© Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved. 






Self-d oubt plagues many writers. Even bestselling authors like Cody McFadyen suffer from it. In an article he wrote for The Tome Traveller's Weblog, he said, “…the day to day act of sitting down and making the words appear…is a doubt-fueled activity.”   


If self-doubt was something we could just ignore, then who cares if it’s part of the writing game.  Problem is, we can’t ignore it.  It’s like an annoying parrot sitting on your shoulder constantly squawking, “You’re not good enough, bra-c-k.”  And worse than that, we believe it—which leads us to procrastinate instead of sitting down to write. 


Is there anything you can do to stop it?   


You bet there is!  Let’s talk about how you can silence that squawking parrot and end that cycle that steals your time. 



Set Realistic Goals 


So much depends on our ability to set realistic goals.  We’ve discussed setting goals using the S.M.A.R.T. method in the past.  You can find a detailed article on how to use this method here.   


Unobtainable goals feed self-doubt.  Discouraged by disappointing results, you begin to think you’re not up to the task, when not setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is the true problem.  


Once you begin using the S.M.A.R.T. method, you’ll find how much easier it is to obtain your goals, and that will motivate you to keep going. 



Accept Horrible First Drafts 


Whether you’re writing your next article or beginning the first chapter of a novel, the writing isn’t going to be perfect.  Let the words flow off your fingertips and don’t waste time analyzing each word.  If you get stuck, insert a little note to remind you of what you want to place there and then move on.  


Stopping to analyze your writing encourages self-doubt.  Expecting even your first draft to be perfect will stifle creativity and you’ll find yourself making excuses not to sit down and write. 



Get Rid of Negative Self-talk 


If there is one thing I am guilty of, it is negative self-talk.  At this point, I don’t even realize what I’m saying; but when I hear my daughter shout in frustration, “Oh, I’m so stupid!” I know exactly where she gets it’s from. 


Speaker, author and life coach Judi Moreo wrote an article titled, How to Develop Charisma.  In this article, she states that in order for you to make a change you have to stop putting yourself down.  She suggests using regular positive affirmations to help build your confidence.  Instead of saying, “I’m not good enough,” say, “I can do this!”   


Don’t think you’re guilty of negative self-talk?  Carry around a voice recorder for a day or two and record yourself while you write.  Listening to it might be an eye-opening experience. 



Overcome Your Weaknesses 


Many writers are stronger in one area than another.  I feel more comfortable with non-fiction because I struggle with certain aspects of fiction writing.  That doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t write fiction.  It just means I have to work at it a bit harder. 


Many colleges and universities offer writing courses.  In addition, the Internet has opened up the door for writers to take online courses to hone their craft. 


Improving those areas you struggle with will make you more confident and less prone to being crippled by self-doubt. 



Ask Others for Constructive Feedback 


We are often our own worst critics.  Whether you write with a partner or join a critique group, constructive feedback can go a long way in ending that cycle of self-doubt. 


Local communities and libraries often have writer’s groups that meet on a regular basis, and there are several online groups you can investigate.  The social interaction is also helpful. 


Self-doubt isn’t all bad. It’s the thing that encourages us to improve our work.  But there is a fine line between letting self-doubt help you, and allowing it to control you.   


Using the tips found here, you can end the controlling aspects of self-doubt and be more productive than ever! 






About the Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelancer who specializes in helping writers increase productivity through time management and organization. She has also written articles on everyday life in the 1800’s, gardening, parenting, and women’s health issues.  Cheryl is also a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion and the editor of Musing Our Children’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.  Her first children’s book will be released in 2010.  You can find out more about Cheryl by visiting her website at http://ccmalandrinos.tripod.com/








Writer's Guide to Time Management