Overcoming Self-Doubt – Without the Golden Globe

I’m really into Podcasts lately. They’re kind of my new thing.

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I’ve been listening to This American Life or NPR on my way to work in the mornings, and it has completely revolutionized my entire subway experience. Sure, I look a little crazy laughing to myself in the middle of a jam-packed train,  but I try not to let the awkward stares get me down.

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Anyway, in my quest to expand my Podcast horizons, I recently stumbled across one called “I Should Be Writing” for wannabe fiction writers. It’s hosted by writer Mur Lafferty, and every week focuses on a different topic relating to writing. A lot of them don’t apply to me, since I’m really more of a corporate droid than an aspiring novelist, but the topic she spoke about the other day was one I could definitely relate to: Self-esteem… or lack thereof. 

During the podcast, Lafferty remarked that she never checks her stats or followers online, because she has low self-esteem and that noise would drive her completely batsh*t cray-cray. She’d end up obsessively checking how many people subscribed to each podcast and overanalyzing every lost twitter follower.

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At the same time, however, she acknowledged that you can’t hide from criticism forever. The bigger you get, the more you’re going to be talked about- and not always in a good way.”Go and check Amazon.” she said, “Even Shakespeare has bad reviews”.

The key is not to let this completely destroy your self-esteem and paralyze you from continuing to write. You have to take in what’s constructive, tune out what’s not, and keep on writing.

Incidentally, later that day I also read the chapter in my book, The Happiness Project where author Gretchen Rubin decides to start her own blog.

happiness

She almost talked her self out of it on numerous occasions due to self-doubt and insecurity, but in the end, she promised herself she would always “Be Gretchen”. Of course, it went on to become one of the most popular blogs on the internet.

Not to be cliché, but I sort of feel like these two ladies came into my life at exactly the right moment. You may have noticed (psych, no one besides Ben noticed) my rather long blogging hiatus back in February. While I would like to say this was as a result of work stress, crazy partying, or being abducted by sex aliens named Ryan Gosling, the truth is, it wasn’t.

I was sitting on my couch, reading my books and watching Real Housewives, stroking my self-doubt like the kitten I don’t have.

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Me

I had plenty of time and opportunity to write; but for some reason, I just couldn’t.

I worried that everything I wanted to say was irrelevant, off-topic; unfunny, or uninteresting. Were people getting tired of my book reviews? Should I be posting more about my personal life? Less about personal life? More pictures of animals doing people things? (BTW, the answer to that question is always yes)

animal

I lost count of how many things I posted on twitter and instagram and then immediately deleted. Why would anyone care about my lamentations on oatmeal and elevators? Or that pic of the three foot chocolate egg at my grocery store I thought was hilarious:

I mean.. it is kind of hilarious
I mean.. it is kind of hilarious

 Unfortunately, unlike Anne Hathaway, I don’t have a Golden Globe to perpetually guard against self-doubt.

annegif

I”ve tried snuggling my Liebster blog award at night, but it’s just not the same. It feels all angular. And German.

liebster

So I let that shame and insecurity win. I let it travel all the way down to the tips of my fingers and paralyze them.

I was a sad blogger.

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But I’ve decided that enough is enough. Bluntly put,  I need to just give less of a f*ck. I need to write more, more often, and care less about what people think. Otherwise, I’ll never fulfill my dreams of becoming Seth Meyers/David Sedaris/Mindy Kaling/Lena Dunham/Carl Kasell. (Ok, that last one isn’t even a writer.. I just love his voice SO DAMN MUCH).

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Lena Dunham doesn’t G.A.F. how many people see her peeing, having sex, or wearing mesh shirts with no bra on TV, and look where it’s gotten her!

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(Don’t worry guys, I won’t go that far).

I’ve come to realize that there is nothing less funny or engaging than a writer who is self-conscious. It’s time to start throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. It may not all work, but maybe some of it will. Some of my most successful posts have been ones I had no idea people would like, so who knows.

Anyway, I know you’re probably thinking, “Homegirl really needs to learn the difference between “blog” and “journal” right now” … but you know what, I don’t care. Im’ma just Be BreezyK. And you all should be You, too. Every weird, last one of you.

Question of the Day: How do you deal with self-doubt?

Is your writing primarily influenced by your audience, or what you want to write?

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49 thoughts on “Overcoming Self-Doubt – Without the Golden Globe

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  1. Self doubt, self conscious , lack of self esteem,,,,= Me in a nutshell.
    Even at the wonderful age of 43 I STILL struggle with what people think of me,,what I “should” do,,,and if I do say or do what I believe in,,especially in my relationships if I will drive them away or will they loose me.
    I’ve come to the decision that I’m a work in progress,,and slowly I’m learning to not care about what other’s think.
    Chin up gurl,,I love everything you write, and I’m glad ur back!

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    1. Thanks girl 🙂 I think we’re all a bit of a work In progress and always will be- I think the key is just not to let that stop you from being “you”. ( I cant believe I’m using that expression by the way. I used to hate people who said that haha.. But it’s So true!)

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  2. I was wondering where you were! I look forward to finding your posts in my inbox. You always make me laugh and yes, inspire me. So please don’t stop writing! Btw, I am famous for writing something and holding onto it for weeks before hitting “publish” since I’m sure that no one really cares. But then I get comments and discover that people like me…they really like me! Sorry to go all Sally Field on you. Anyway, I loved this post and all of the ones that came before it. Looking forward to the next one!

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  3. There’s the Breezyk we have come to expect! Preach it! My last post, the stupid one about socks was one that I had thought about 0 minutes about and I had a whole other one planned. I could barely get myself to put it on there, and for some reason it got way more response than I ever expected. It is just amazing at what sticks and what doesn’t. Don’t ever stop doing the writing thing!

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      1. Thanks! I’m glad I could inspire you to write about ghosts. Several years ago, I had an experience with a haunted building and a lunatic teacher at a conference on April 1st. Needless to say it is postworthy. I can’t wait to hear about the Elevator Ghost.

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      1. I honestly have no idea. I just have always been confident in what I do and know where my strengths lie. I’m sorry I don’t have any words of wisdom in that regard.

        I can, however, tell you that i think you’re a fabulous writer and as long as you keep posting I’ll keep reading.

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  4. I’ve been having a bout of this myself lately. I was riding a wave of rising views, rising blog followers, rising Twitter followers, and then suddenly all of my blog ideas ended up only being drafts, and it just is not flowing. It might be self-doubt disguising itself as writer’s block, but it’s annoying that I have seven drafts in my queue and none of them have been titled, much less written. It could also be that I’m severely burnt out on life right now, and trying to put out effort to do anything right now is a struggle.

    Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I really enjoy your blog, and you should keep writing. You are hilarious, and I really think you should tweet more. (I would have laughed at that egg if I’d seen it. I think nuanced things are effing hilarious, the sign is what did it.)

    Bottom line, KEEP BLOGGING! I will try hopping on the bandwagon again soon…

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    1. I do that too! I’ve got multiple drafts on the go right now that I know I should just push myself to finish but I lose interest or start to question it. If you publish yours, I’ll publish mine- k??

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  5. Didn’t think for a second you were oversharing…this post couldn’t come at a better time, honestly. I’ve been feeling the same way lately and decided I wouldn’t post until I could figure out how to change the direction of my ‘brand’ but then the idea of writing just wasn’t as fun anymore.

    My writing is influenced by both, my (small) audience and what I want to write. I try to think from their perspective and think ‘what would they want to read’. I’ve been doing okay but maybe I should stop checking my stats and followers for a little, give my self esteem a little break. Lol

    it’s too bad we don’t have a Golden Globe to bash self doubt in the head, would come in handy. Great post. Keep writing, this blog is definitely worthy of a read in my books.

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    1. Thank you so much! It’s definitely a fine balance between writing for yourself and for your audience- one I haven quite figured out yet. But I’ll get there!

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  6. Great article, engaging and so honest. I know this because anyone who has ever tried to express themselves in words has experienced this avalanche of self doubt. I think inside each of us is that little voice telling us we aren’t quite good enough. How do I overcome it? Much like I learned to swim as a kid. I know the water is there, I just plug my nose and jump. Write what is on my mind or in my heart and let it go. I don’t know if it is any good or not, that really isn’t the point is it? It is created and produced by me and therefore is a part of me I am sharing with the world. Being able to accept judgment on those things is the most courageous thing that a person can do, I think. 🙂 Grateful for the thoughtful, interesting and humorous writing.

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    1. I like that- “I know the water is there, so I plug my nose and jump in.” maybe that will be my new mantra. Although its really way more fun to just picture all you guys in your underwear.

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  7. There’s a fine line when I get ready to write a post. I think about how my audience varies from my mom’s friends who might get offended when I use the F word to my male friends who could give two shits about what my mani of the week looks like. So, in the end, I just write about whatever I damn well please and hope that readers enjoy. Cheers!

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    1. Me too- I want to write about girl shit like nails and makeup and hair way more often but don’t because I’m worried what my male readers will think.. Not no mo haha

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  8. Yesterday I purposefully sat alone in McDonald’s with my giant tea and my book, “So Long Insecurity: You’ve been a bad friend to me”, reading it tilted up so everyone could see it. There was something empowering about not hiding it…and I’m sure you’ve found it empowering to lay it all out there and move on! 🙂 Ciao.

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  9. Great post and funny too! I would hesitate to call myself a writer, but I do like to entertain people. I worry sometimes about those I love most feeling hurt or offended. They wouldn’t believe it by reading my posts, but I don’t write anything that I KNOW will cause unnecessary angst in somebody else’s life. Except my kids. I own them and they’re fair game. lol.

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  10. Get. Out. Of. My. Brain.
    Seriously… this post. Amazing. Perfect time. Know EXACTLY how you feel. (Except mine wasn’t Real Housewives, but old episodes of The Office).

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  11. Fantastic! Write because you want to but don’t worry about a moment of self-doubt. We all have them, admitting to them makes us human. No one wants to get crippled by it, but often it is a path to change, to a moment in time when we are tuning in to ourselves. Embrace it as a moment in time that has passed, surge forward and keep us laughing. Write about what makes you passionate–that’s what it is all about. ♥

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    1. I like that- I really think this has been a bit of a turning point for me mentally. Now I just have to go through with it and practice what I preach! haha

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  12. It’s funny that you featured Anne Hathaway in your post. I had occasion to be on Facebook during the Oscars. You can bet your last penny that I was not watching the show. I’m not into the self-congratulatory ways of movie-dom. Anyway, two “friends” of mine on Facebook were going on and on about Anne Hathaway, just trashing everything about her. These topics included but are not limited to; her dress, her hair, her jewelry, her acting ability and “something I can’t put my finger on, but I just don’t like her”. I thought about it for a minute, and it occured to me that these two friends have absolutely no credentials to make such statements. While I am not a fan of the the Academy Awards, I will freely admit that to be nominated for one is a very big deal. Many people slave for an entire career in Hollywood and never get any recognition at all.

    I guess my point (assuming I have one), is that criticism is often unwarranted, and those who spew it are often doing so for all the wrong reasons. For me as a blogger, worse than criticism is the sound of crickets as no one (or very few ones) read my post.

    Sometimes I blame it on technical glitches which may or may not exist. When I’ve had some low, low hits and likes, I’ve decided that I need to write and stop worrying about it. Sadly for my blog, the hits and likes are what keep me going. Luckily for any novel/short story writing, the feedback won’t come until the project is done, and by then, I should be a better writer.

    Sorry to ramble. Keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

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  13. This was a super good post. I actually have a letter that I wrote to you sitting on my desk (I keep forgetting to mail it!) as a thank you for my sweet cd/everyone-likes-getting-letters-so-why-not letter. That should clear up any self doubt. You have at least one fan in me 🙂

    I think I’ve just hammered thoughts of self worth into my brain so much that I’m never doubtful that I’m making the wrong choices or not good enough. Sometimes I feel that way, but doesn’t everyone? As long as we’re trying to do what’s right, and trying to be happy, then that’s all that matters, right? Maybe. I don’t know.

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  14. Great post! The older I get, the more I believe that there are no accidents. Those two women came into your life at the write time–excuse the pun. I am desperately trying to say fuck it and write exactly what I want, too. But I struggle with who my audience is. But now, thanks to your post, I’ll remember that even Shakespeare gets bad reviews!

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  15. I missed your posts! This has been one of my favorites so far, because I can relate 100 percent and I struggle with the same self esteem issues about my blogging/writing and I know that’s holding me back. Thank you for writing this–it’s what I needed to get my butt in gear!!! Ps: I LOVE This American Life and I totally think that chocolate egg (and your writing, in general) are hilarious.

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  16. Everyone has already said they missed you, and Leroy says keep on rocking, girl (clever Michelle Shocked reference) so I’ll just say ba-DING! CARL KASSEL! Glad you’re back.

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  17. ”Go and check Amazon.” she said, “Even Shakespeare has bad reviews”.
    THIS has changed my life. I am my worst critic. I am really hard on myself in a way that I wouldn’t tolerate from other people. Very well put, very honest and judging by the comments: you are not the only one. I think you are awesome 🙂

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    1. Thanks- I know what you mean, I won’t tolerate it from others, or hearing others talk about themselves that way, I don’t know why I think it’s acceptable for me. It ends here!

      Like

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