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On self belief

As ever, these things dovetail and I've had a couple of online interactions with writers talking about how self belief can be a barrier. This can take a number of sideroads in terms of impact:

1. I don't believe in what I'm writing, and therefore don't have the confidence to keep going.

I think this is incredibly common. Few writers I know don't get to some part in the process without deciding what they're writing is the worst kind of drivel. Some jack it in at that point, becoming the perpetual never-completers, some keep going and hope to write through it, some take a bit of a break and then come back to that idea. For me, each works at different points in the process. Sometimes, too, that project isn't actually going to be a goer. The idea may not work in the form you're trying to work in. The idea might be weaker than it first seemed.
None of this means the writer isn't a good writer, or that they should give up. It just means the project isn't quite the right one at that time. Once you remember that it's not all about bringing a story out, but the words that you write and the lesson you learn, things become a little less make-or-break if the story doesn't pan out.

2. I worry what others will say about it.

Hey, I know this one. Frankly, the one exploding from my mind at the moment, if it ever sees the light of day, might well be under a pseudonym.
Reviews do hurt. Especially when they're worse than you expected them to be, or if they're from someone's whose opinion matters a lot. But, you can't write for others. If you write a book to please people, you will fail because it's simply not possible. Go and look your favourite book up on Goodreads and see the one stars it has, and make yourself feel better. Not because of another author's misery, but because that's the way it is for every book. Some like it, some love it, some hate it. So long as you like it (and preferably love it) the job is done. Nothing else matters.

3. If I can't get published by X publisher, or in X journal, I've failed.

This is a hard one. If you set store by achieving something that is out of your hands (and it is, you could write the best story or poem, or whatever, and it could still get rejected because it's too like something recently acquired, or the editor doesn't like that semi colon in line 3, or it's just not the right fit.)
The market is changing everyday. There is no acme of a career anymore. There is no defined success parameter. For every person published in your dream journal, there's another winning an award, or still another with the most cherished review the author could ever want. For every critically acclaimed published-with-kudos piece, there's a self-published superstar who everyone wants to be.
Where you get published and by whom is not an indication of your quality as a writer, and if it stops you believing in yourself, then it's your mindset that's letting you feel that way.

4. I'm not good enough for...

To apply for an award. To enter an open call. To call myself an author instead of a writer. To call out I've brought out my book. Insert your own Imposter-Syndrome moment here.
You did it. Shout it out. There is no gatekeeper to pride and achievement.

5. Everyone else is getting more attention and so I must not be as good as....

It's so easy to think everyone is doing better and that we're failing. It's the simplest thing in the world to believe that. And, yet - delve deeper. How long has that person been writing? How many words have they had that didn't get the attention?

But more importantly - why does that matter? They did not write your book. They could not have. Every day someone will be doing better than you, if you look for it. It doesn't make your value any less.

I suppose, for me, I find it frustrating that writing is still built on tiers of accomplishment, instead of looking to build up belief. If you wrote it, you have no need to doubt because, no matter what is levelled at it, you can say - rightly - it is mine, I wrote it, it is the thing that it should be and has the path that it should have. And, maybe, just maybe, it might be easier to enjoy writing if we remove those various obstacles to belief.