On self-doubt and encouragement

I just watched a video on Kim Chance’s channel where she gives advice regarding some hard stuff that authors and aspiring authors struggle through. What I really like about these kinds of videos is the honesty and openness; it’s a natural thing that all authors, both published and unpublished, struggle with confidence and self-doubt from time to time.

No matter how much we deny it, we all play the comparison game. It’s impossible not to when other people’s work is thrown in your face on Youtube or social media etc. – which is completely fine on any normal day – but then comes a day when you’re feeling low or a bit lacking in confidence. One simple click is all it takes and before you know it, the ugly monster of doubt has taken a seat on your shoulder and tells you all sorts of nasty things about your own work and creative ability.

I find this really odd. I mean, the book industry isn’t even that competitive. When have you ever walked into a persons’ home and only found one book on their bookshelf? Exactly.

Readers can buy and enjoy many books by many different authors. So why are we so insistent on comparing ourselves to others? Why are we so quick to judge our own work too harshly as soon as we compare it to someone else’s? Well, I think it all comes down to us really really really wanting to get it right, which causes us to panic whenever we find something brilliant that someone else has created. Sure, humility is a virtue, but a healthy dose of faked confidence should definitely be kept on retainer for those moments when the ugly monster tries to get comfy on your shoulder (I did not mean for that to sound so dirty).

Another bad thing is that when we experience self-doubt, we tend to not give as much encouragement to others, ending up in a vicious circle of negativity. What if we all found a way to look beyond our doubts and spread some kindness instead of silence? In her video, Kim challenged the viewers to give encouragement to at least 5 people; because we all need a bit of that from time to time regardless of our current mood. I’m jumping on that train immediately. Who knows, maybe I’ll get some of it back, and maybe I won’t. The important thing, in my opinion, is just to get it out there.

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