I’ve seen a thing floating around the internet saying something like “being an author is x% narcissism and x% crippling self doubt” ( I say x because I can’t remember). And it’s so true.
To be an author you have to think you’re good enough. You have to write your book, sit back, and think: woah. This is good. People will read this. This book can make it.
And then at other times you write your book (or pages or paragraphs or sentences), sit back, and think: woah. This is shit. People will not read this. This book cannot make it.
I’d like to say that the narcissistic side of being a writer (and I say writer because I have this thing where I will only call myself a true author when I have a published book IDK it’s weird) trumps the crippling self doubt, and that 99% of my days involve being in love with my craft and being in love with what I produce from it. I’d like to say that. But I can’t. Because the crippling self doubt that comes with being a writer, at least for me, trumps the narcissism every time.
And it’s not because of rejection (of which I will write another post on), or anything in particular. It’s just ingrained in my way of thinking.
This self doubt makes itself nice and well known when I share my writing, and it comes back well received. Is this enthusiasm true? Are they shielding their thoughts because we are friends? Why haven’t they commented on the most recent thing I sent them? Why aren’t they asking for more? Why this, what that – an endless cycle of why why why. And there’s the self doubt. And one of the reasons why I don’t like sharing my work. Because I never know if I can come away from their response with 100% belief in what they’ve said.
Now, when I share my work anonymously (for example, my fanfics) and get positive comments, this strokes the narcissistic side of writer self and affirms that yes, I am good, and I can do this.
The self doubt really shows when it’s just me, myself, and I pouring over my words, or when friends comment on my work. And what a hideous reaction that is. To doubt yourself at the same time as believing, and wishing, and wanting with all your heart for your words to be available to everyone. To doubt yourself at the same time as sharing the most important part of yourself with important people, and not being able to completely take in the praise they’re giving.
But it’s all part of being a writer. Or it’s all just part of being me.
(win a book because you’re fab)