“This is horrible.”
“I’m just not cut out for this.”
“Why do I even write?”
Everyone who writes has that little voice in their head. It’s the voice of Mr. Insecurity – and if you aren’t careful, he’ll move in permanently with his annoying grandmother, Procrastination.
Luckily, there are things you can do to overcome your writing insecurity and shut that voice up for good.
Why You’re Insecure
We’re insecure because we care about what people think of our work.
If we didn’t give two hoots about it, then we wouldn’t be insecure. But we do care, and we worry when there’s the least little indicator that someone doesn’t like what we’re doing.
You want people to like you, to like your articles and to tell you that you’re awesome. If you hear silence or (heavens forbid) criticism, you freak out.
It’s all fine and good to want to be liked, but when you stop dead in your tracks if you don’t hear that you are… it becomes a problem.
A big problem.
What to Do About It
You can overcome your writing insecurity. You may not be able to eliminate it forever, because it’s a part of you, and it might come and go at times.
But you can learn how to deal with it. You’re here to write, create and express yourself. The more you do that, the more Mr. Insecurity fades into the background.
1. Destroy the Voice.
Become aware of the voice in your head that makes you insecure.
No, I’m not crazy – and neither are you. Most people have several voices in their head, and often what they say is in conflict.
When you try to convince yourself that the voice doesn’t exist, you can’t do anything about making it go away. That’s why I recommend you write down what this voice says to you.
When you take notes for a few days, you’ll start to notice patterns. What you’ll notice is that the same sort of stuff gets repeated over and over again.
After a while it starts becoming ridiculous.
Action step: Keep a pen and a pad of paper next to you when you write. Each time you start feeling insecure, write down what the insecure voice is saying.
2. Find Your Ideal Reader.
If you try to please everyone, you’re bound to get stuck sooner or later.
James talks about this a lot, and she says that writing with ONE reader in mind helps eliminate a lot of the insecurity you face.
You no longer have to worry about satisfying a group of people. All you have to do is focus on pleasing that one reader or customer.
Try to write for a group of people, and you’ll always find someone in that group who doesn’t like what you have to say.
But the truth of the matter is that you have to exclude some people if you want raving fans.
Action step: Create a pen portrait of your ideal reader. Have fun with it. Include a picture. Then sit down, imagine having a conversation with your ideal reader and bang out an article.
The third and final tip for overcoming insecurity is to journal.
This is a more of a big picture approach compared to tip #1 above. Write down whatever is going on in your head. Keep writing for at least 15-20 minutes without stopping. When you run out of things to say, write anyway.
If you truly run out of steam, keep on writing random words.
Journaling (or free-writing) never ceases to amaze me. It helps me get the insecure thoughts out of my head.
So open up a document, and start writing.
Let it flow uncensored.
Let all your insecurity bleed onto paper.
Eventually, you’ll be drained of it – and better able to write.
Action step: Journal on your computer, with regular pen and paper, or use online software like Penzu. But right before you start writing, do a 20-30 minute journaling session where you write down everything that goes on in your head.
The Bottom Line
Overcoming insecurity isn’t easy, but the better you get at it, the more of your writing you can put out there.
This isn’t about perfection. It’s about providing value. The more you publish your writing, the more people you can help, and the more clients you can attract.
There will always be people who don’t like what you do. But there will also be people who absolutely love what you do. Focus on those who want to hear from you and forget the rest.
Especially Mr. Insecurity. That guy’s a jerk.