What To Do When Battling Self-Doubt

These past two weeks at my job have been the hardest I’ve had in years. Not because of a potential job loss or trouble with a coworker or boss but because it’s so busy my brain literally hurts when I leave.

Last week, in the midst of this furious pace, I had a thought I haven’t had in a long time. A little voice stepped up to the podium in my mind and declared that no matter how hard I try I will never be a writer.

It also added, as if one leads into another, that I am a terrible public speaker, I’m not good on video or encouraging people, and my fiction is terrible too so I better just stop and save myself the pain of rejection.

The strange part about this thought process? less than twelve hours before this thought, I shared my 2016 goals with my writers group. I said I was thrilled about the possibilities that this year holds.

Self-doubt is a sneaky little jerk. I know that I am a writer. I know that I did a decent job in my last conference talk, however, I was foolish to believe that I was over self-doubt because it was simply waiting, lurking around the corner, until my guard was down.

Want to know how I stopped that voice speaking in my head? The same way I stopped a goalie that would heckle me during a hockey game.

I went to work.

I became competitive and started writing this post even as the voice grew louder. The surprising thing? I can still hear its voice but I am no longer afraid. It’s like a tiger in a cage at the moment. I am no longer frozen in fear, with the thought I cannot write because I just did. And soon I’ll publish this post and get some edits in on my next e-book.

Self-doubt never leaves us. But it’s what we do in response that says who we are. Sometimes self-doubt is reinforced by a dry spell of writing or in the form of an off handed joke by an uncle or cousin or parent or friend.

Keep in mind that Someone laughed at Disney’s dream, but he kept working anyway. So should you.

 

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Top Blog Posts From 2015

I love getting the yearly report from WordPress.com about my website traffic, top posts, and yearly insights. The most interesting part to me is the top five blog posts. The reason? Its a thread informing me what people coming to this little corner on the web are interested in.

Here are the top five posts in order. Some of these may be familiar to you, one may not be. It’s from 2012 and is still one of my top posts year after year.

Firework

1. Why You Should Keep Writing Despite A Full House (2015) – This post was about the birth of my fourth child and why it’s important for kids to see their parents pursuing their passions. (Click HERE to read it)

2. Are You A Writer Or Interested In Writing? Come to Jot (2015)- Jot is the free writers conference my writing group The Weaklings hosts around West Michigan. If you live in Michigan or even northern Indiana, check out this post. (Click HERE to read it)

3. Worldbuilding 101- Let’s Build a World Together (2015) – This is part of my workshop on building nominal worlds. I’ve taught it at two separate writers conferences. It’s strange to type that but I love that I’ve had that opportunity. (Click HERE to read it)

4. Use Dialogue to Advance Your Plot (2012) – This post is from 2012 and is still one of my top blogs. I plan to clean it up a bit and make it stronger to add more value to those to keep coming back to it. As it is from 2012, it’s not a very strong post but I wanted to leave it unedited for now so you may see how this site has changed over the years. (Click HERE to read it)

5.  What Do Your Kids See When You Write? (2015) – I am glad this one made it because this was my favorite post from the year. I write that not because it was wonderfully crafted, but because I lived this post. Read it again. You’ll see why. (Click HERE to read it)

Thanks for making 2015 a great year for Part-Time Novel. Stop by Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for more posts.

Join my email list at the top right of this blog to stay connected.

Live well this year my friends.

Busy Writer? 10 Ways to Squeeze in Writing Time.

Before kids, I wrote every Saturday morning from 5:30am until 9am. It was beautiful. I had enough time to finish a chapter, or, well, enough time to finish anything really.

That time is gone but my kids are a blessing. I’d never trade one for the other. And my life is so much fuller now, allowing me to draw from these deeper experiences and use them as fuel to write better novels and short stories.

Below is a list of several ways to keep your writing going when you schedule gets busy. I’ve used them all and I hope you find this list helpful.

  1. During Lunch Break – You can write on your iphone or android phone. If a library is close by head there or simply bring a pad of paper and write by hand.
  2. While in the Waiting Room – If you have meetings with a client or have a dentist or doctor’s appointment be sure to bring something to write with.
  3. While Preparing Dinner – There are times when I might have to wait for the water to boil, the sauce to simmer, and the dishes are done. This means I need to be present but not actively preparing a meal. Have your notebook ready for these spare minutes.
  4. Right Before Bed – Instead of reading 20 pages of a book, write one or two  pages of your own.
  5. Early Early Morning – Like 4:30. Yes I know. Yikes. But you love this remember?
  6. During Nap Time – If you are a stay at home dad/mom, and still have this time, use it while you can.
  7. During Breakfast – Some people read the newspaper during breakfast or read a novel, you can work on yours.
  8. As the Kids Play – This sounds like terrible parenting, but our kids do need to learn to live without us hovering over them, right? So, if they are playing quietly, get a few sentences down during the peace before rushing to the housecleaning, work projects, etc..
  9. Be there 15-20 Minutes Early – Wherever there may be: grocery store, work, meeting, etc.. This is different than the waiting room tip as you have created this space and are not waiting on someone else. Imagine using them both together. Is that 40-50 minutes??
  10. In Between Commercials – If you wind down by watching television try to get a few paragraphs in the 17 minutes of commercials during that hour long show.

These are not fool proof or the only way to do it, but I hope you found them helpful or at least made you think of how you can use those lost minutes to work on your novel.

Do you have any other suggestions? Please post them in the comment section below.

Cheers,

Bob

No More Excuses

As writers we could all use more time. I know I could. Time is my greatest ally and my deadliest foe. There never seems to be enough of it and I always need just a little bit more to complete my task.

So, below I have listed 4 ways to squeeze out some time to write. That way you and I can no longer have excuses and can stay focused on our tasks.

1. The grocery story. Silly I know, but bring your notebook with you everywhere and seize the opportunity. There are always little bits of time that, when strung together, equal that sizable chunk all writers long for.

2. Write during your lunch at work. I love socializing as much as the next person, but I have changed my lunch into a time to be productive. When do you relax then? Never. Remember your goal.

3. Take the last two hours of each day from 11-1 or 12-2 to write. At the end of a long day of work my bed seems like heaven. However, if I wait longer, how much more inviting will it be?

4. Get up at 5am to write. I have attempted this for the past few weeks and have been mildly successful. It has been an exhausting few weeks but I have made more progress than I’ve had in some time.

In the end, it all comes down to what you love. Does one night of watching the latest movie mean you will never finish a novel? No, of course not. But think of how much you could have gotten done during that two hours. So, evaluate your week, make a plan, set a goal and do whatever it takes to scrap together enough time to accomplish it.

Cheers,

Bob