Facing Doubts and Insecurities So You Can Reach Your Goals

Sunday, October 20, 2019
Many of us who blog on The Muffin write about the topic of  writing doubts and insecurities. Most definitely, it’s the life of a writer. If you're reading this, you've probably had the thought: This manuscript is terrible. No one will ever want to read it. This is the dumbest idea I've ever had. 

This is probably true for any creative people who pour their heart and soul into their work and then will be "judged" for it. Even when your book or short story is published, there are still reviews and sales numbers to face. (Really, this post is not meant to be depressing! Stick with me...)

Recently, I’ve been dealing with fighting off my doubts and insecurities because I’m ready to launch a new project. I've been referring to  the person who used to listen to those doubts and quit projects without finishing them "my old self." I'm calling this writer (me!) who will launch this project below tomorrow or Tuesday--"my new self." Here's the cover:

One day this past week while I've been working on Listen, Lucy! Listen!, I posted in my writers' group Facebook group that I had to "tell my old self to settle down" several times in the past couple weeks This project above is a picture book that was once under contract, but it never did get published. That’s a long story for another day--or maybe never. But I did have the artwork from Pam Withroder and the text (from me!). I have InDesign on my laptop to put it together. So I did--finally.

And I plan to use this book as a marketing tool--which I also know is something a lot of writers do. But still, I’ve been plagued with questions, such as: Will anyone like this book? Will people think I’m silly for giving it away for free? Will my plans for books, workshops, and presentations to go with this book be well received? A very loud voice seems to constantly ring through my head saying, "This is a bad idea. No one will like it." (That's the old self, there!)

In today's society, we talk a lot about listening to our gut. There's even the expression "women’s intuition." However, there’s also the inner critic of a creative person, and that is the one who keeps telling me don’t do this--she's harsh--too harsh. I know this is a cute book and how to write children’s picture books. I know about the rule of three, about not making it preachy, and how to use repetition.

So I told that inner critic, my old self, to go take a nap. Because I'm going to do this. And don’t worry: when I blog the last week of October, on here, I will be ready to let you know all about my project and how to get this book for free!

Until then, join me! If you have an old self (aka paralyzing inner critic) whispering doubts and criticism in your ear, tell him or her to pack a bag and take a trip because you don’t have time for that--you're too busy writing.

Margo L. Dill is the managing editor of WOW! and teaches novel writing, middle-grade and YA fiction writing, and school visit classes. You can check those out in the classroom here. To find out more about Margo and her books, which she managed to get published in spite of her inner critic, check out her website here or keep in touch or email a question here


Renee Roberson said...

You go, Margo! I love the idea of using this picture book as a marketing tool. If it was under contract it obviously had merit and potential, so don't let it go to waste. Are you going to use it as a "freebie?" I've been thinking a lot about my short stories that I've never done anything with and how I could use them as freebies to help grow an e-mail list, etc. I still have those doubts so this came at a good time for me. I can't wait to hear more!

Evelyn Krieger said...

Your reminder to send our inner critic on a long vacation is just what I needed this week as I struggle to finish my middle-grade manuscript. I remind myself that I've received support and positive feedback from industry insiders, so I should believe in what they see. Thank you, Margo, and good luck on your projects.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

This is something we all need to hear. I'm sure everyone reading your post has a manuscript with a weak ending, a setting that needs a bit of work or whatever. But they've let it sit instead of going back to it because it will simply never sing.

Definitely not if we just leave them sit! Good for you for getting back into it!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I used to say Old Cathy and New Cathy...and yep, Old Cathy followed the rules, sometimes that worked, sometimes, it most definitely did not.

New Cathy just goes for it 'cause life is short. You go, Margo!

Margo Dill said...

Renee: I think you should put those short stories together and give them away for newsletter sign ups. Building an email list is an important marketing tool. I am mostly giving it away for free. I have it listed for 99 cents on my website if someone doesn't want to give me an email address for it for some strange reason--but you never know. It's a long story. It just feels like I shouldn't charge for this book and I need a good giveaway, so it's a win-win.

Evelyn: Thank you! It's so hard not to let the doubts come in. Best of luck to you!

Sue: Thank you!

Cathy: Yes, go for it. And actually this attitude is helping me in many areas of my life. :)

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