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Does Your Writing Make You Feel Insecure? Here’s The Cure

Does Your Writing Make You Feel Insecure? Here’s The Cure

Sometimes, you’ll find you love writing and should be doing it, but are just not writing.

And when you look closer, you’ll see it’s not that you’re too busy or too stressed to put pen to paper. It’s just that your inner critic keeps telling you you’re not good enough and your writing quality doesn’t compare with others’.

Does Your Writing Make You Feel InsecureDoes Your Writing Make You Feel Insecure

Recently, I’ve received quite a number of emails from my readers asking for help with this challenge. Here’s one of them:

Insecurity
Here’s another:

Fear

I can instantly relate to the problem because I’ve battled it many times myself. I’ll tell you the 5-step process I’ve used to keep it at bay and write my way to my career goals. I hope the process works for you too.

1. Shun that inner critic

Each time you’re ready to write, your inner critic reminds of what grave risk you’re about undertaking.

What if the writing doesn’t come out good? What if it makes you look stupid? What if it makes people judge you? What if people find out about your grammar flaws?

So let me help you out here and tell you the truth that… all that bad stuff is almost guaranteed to happen!

Trust me, that’s the way it is.

But since you know it’s all going to happen sometimes, you can finally stop worrying about it, shun the inane critic and just get your writing going.

2. Write regularly

Don’t write today and take a month’s break. Write regularly, preferably daily. Maturity comes with age and the same is true for writing.

Write more frequently and you’ll feel more confident about your writing.

3. Share your works

When you write, don’t bury it somewhere on your PC or in your library. Exhibit the generosity to share your work.

If you merely write and file, it will be hard to keep writing regularly. When you write and push it out by entering writing contests, starting a blog or publishing elsewhere, you’ll feel good about yourself and your writing with each “like,” tweet, positive comment and Facebook shares you get.

One of the greatest inspirations to write that I ever got was a one-sentence comment by the judge, Dr. Mahfouz Adedimeji, on my entry for an essay contest in 2009.

I wouldn’t have got that if I hadn’t shared my work.

4. Take feedback in good faith

Admit it: you love to be sung and praised. I do, too.

But sometimes, you write and all hell is let loose on you. Whether it’s one critic or a dozen of them, criticisms of your writing would sting as much.

I’ve had a fair share of it here, here and elsewhere. And that’s fine.

So write to express your opinions and belief, not to fit in or be praised. Feel free to disagree with a mainstream view if  you have to, but not just to be seen.

And if punchy criticisms trail your writing, take them in good faith without losing your cool or feeling a lost of prestige. That will boost your self-esteem and assuage your feelings of insecurity.

5. Don’t compare

Don’t place your writings side-by-side with Nmamanda Adichie’s or with Stephen King’s.

You didn’t start writing the same day with them. You haven’t been to where they’ve been and so have they not seen what you’ve seen.

If every other football player judges his skills with those of Messi or Ronaldo, he would simply grow despondent and quit.

You’re unique and so is your writing. Compare how you write today to how you wrote two years ago, not with how John Grisham writes.

That way, you’ll notice how much you’ve improved and be motivated to grow more.

That’s my process for growing as a writer even in the face of feelings of insecurity.

And while the process will not totally remove the fear that your writing will expose you to the world and criticisms, it definitely makes sure that fears and self-doubts do not stop you from doing stuff that matter.

Now get out there and practice your craft.

Question: What’s your biggest take away from this piece and how will you use it to improve your writing? You can leave a comment below.

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-- Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji | Fulbright scholar | Senior Lecturer, Unilorin | newspaper columnist

About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.

Comments

  1. Khadiza Bibi says:

    Hi there! I just wanted to thank you for the email I received from you today! It has definitely helped inspire me to start writing. Some of the things that you mentioned about the fear of writing are some of the things I struggle with: for example, I fear that my writing will be judged and scrutinised by others and I also find myself comparing my writing style with others, and wonder why I cannot write with more ease and fluency. I’m glad I read this today, because I have learnt that every individual has their own, unique way of writing, and it is as unique as their fingerprint. From henceforth, I will get myself to write more than I usually do and I will not let my inner fear of writing stop me. I am very passionate about writing and the art of writing itself is a beautiful thing, which I am always fascinated by, so I will continue to write and do more of the things that I love to do more often!
    Thank you, again!

  2. Av just got little more courage to write again. Thank you.

  3. i am a writer,having the same grammar critic scare and it has been a stumbling block for me.
    i tell you,i have a lot of interesting stories to write but i can pen down anything because i compare work done by proffesionals and i become discouraged.
    after reading your article,i tell you i am going to write my own way .
    thanks for the write up,it helped.

  4. To think that I actually am writing something about my inadequacies as an aspiring writer, and you spilled everything here? What is left to write again? Lol. Nice one bro…

  5. I thought you’ll mention that the inner critic works hand in hand with Mr. Procrastinator. Anyways, this piece has met me right at the point of my need. Now I know how to deal with Mr. Procrastinator’s partner in crime. Thanks a ton, Tosin.

  6. Am always encouraged by the heroes who ave mastered the art of writing. A enviable example is Stephen King who says he always write for just one person – his wife. if she is satisfied with his work, then others will.
    Jeff Goins also said, “its not not being afraid, its doing it is afraid”.

    Seth Godin says, fear is the enemy of creativity and acting in a creative way generates action, which in turn lightens up the fear.

    So, the fear of crafting awesome write-up that “whaos” your audience still remains however good you are.

    But often times we forget to “Just do it”…. and start writing afraid.

  7. Nice post there, big brother, you’ve always been a great motivator. Thanks a lot for your works. A great writer derives joy in bringing up other writers.

  8. WoW great piece! Writing has always been something i loved but i didnt develop it at the right time.… Now that i want to i am most times busy or lazy to write or sometimes feels what i wrote was not good enough…

  9. ugochukwu says:

    Sir, I am an avid follower of your blog. Like you said, writing often improves with practice and i do write a lot ( On Nairaland). Please sir, I will like to have your e-mail address. I am currently writing a story and will like to have your views about it. Will appreciate a reply from you soon.

  10. Hello! I use to have challenges regarding to this inner critic that normally discourage me from putting a pen on paper, but with this point of yours I believe I can write in my own way. Thanks!

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