Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Defeating Self-Doubts: 10 Quick Reminders for the Perfectionist Writer

Whew! I recently completed the second book in The Purple Moon Series, titled FALLEN LEAVES (scheduled to release October 26th with IlluminateYA). This was not an easy feat, to say the least!

In fact, it was probably the hardest project for me to tackle so far in my writing journey. I was tempted to give up multiple times. Why was it so hard?

Because it was a continuation of the story in my first book, PURPLE MOON. Because I didn’t want to disappoint my readers. Because it’s not easy to develop a plot structure in a character-driven story.

And simply because of self-doubt.

Self-doubt, I’ve noticed, often plays a big—yet sneaky—factor in procrastination. It’s the reason why many writers don’t reach their publication dreams.

With each book I’ve written, I’ve doubted my writing ability. I’ve imagined the negative reviews I could receive. Not intentionally, of course. However, my desire to produce quality content often results in me being my own worst critic.

This can be both good and bad. Good when we use our perfectionism as a way to challenge ourselves to rise to the next level; bad when we use self-doubt as a reason to hold off on finishing a project and furthering our dream.

Sending FALLEN LEAVES to my editor felt like an amazing accomplishment—not just because I completed another novel, but because I was able to keep going despite the self-doubts that begged me to give up.

So how can writers resist these doubts and strive forward to reach the finish line? Here are 10 quick reminders for my fellow perfectionists wrestling with self-doubts…

1 –  Every writer has both strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths.

TIP: You might want to ask beta readers, critique partners, or writing friends where your strengths lie as a storyteller. Keep in mind, though, that you do want to be aware of where your weaknesses lie so you can strive to strengthen those areas as well.

2 – You are your own worst critic.

TIP: Allow yourself to write a sloppy first draft. Then you can criticize your work once you reach the revision stages -- but only if your criticism help you rise higher rather than paralyze you. 

3 – Your book isn’t going to be for everyone, but it is for those who will enjoy it.

TIP: If you receive negative feedback, take it with a grain of salt. Everyone has their personal taste and opinion. However, if more than one person has given similar feedback, then consider revising your work based on their critiques.  

4 – You aren’t a perfect writer, but you will grow with each project.

TIP: Try to focus on mastering one new area with each project (such as description, dialogue, voice, characterization, etc.)  

5 – Someone might be waiting for your book to be released. Write it for that person.

TIP: Do you have a friend or beta reader who has previously shown interest in your writing? If so, invite that person to read your book as soon as it's complete. Keep their enthusiasm in mind when you face self-doubt.

6 – You’re the only person who can write your book using your unique writing style, experiences, voice, etc.

TIP: Analyze your writing and the type of stories you like to write. What makes your work stand out amongst other authors in your genre? How is your writing unique?

7 – Your book can improve through edits, rewrites, and critiques. You’re allowed to make mistakes. 

TIP: Write your first draft for your eyes only. Then, with each revision, try to focus on improving and editing one element at a time (such as dialogue, description, interior monologue, pacing, character, arc, subplots, etc.)

8 – Often self-doubt is a tool from the enemy to keep you from furthering your calling.

TIP: Keep a list of compliments you've received on your writing. Then, when those whispers of self-doubt tempt you to give up, take out that list of praise and remind yourself of why you feel called to write.

9 – Ultimately, we have an audience of One. He wants us to be faithful with the gifts we've been entrusted with.

TIP: View your writing session as an act of obedience and worship. Then, your focus will shift; writing will no longer be about you and your success; instead, you'll view it as an opportunity to glorify your Father (see 1 Peter 4:10-11).

10 – When you love writing, it doesn't have to be a drudgery. In fact, it's supposed to be fun -- so enjoy the process!

TIP: Remind yourself of why you fell in love with the craft to begin with. When you first started writing, did you do it for fun or to receive praise? Most of us started writing simply out of pure joy for storytelling. Forget the "rules of writing" during that first draft, and give yourself permission to remain passionate during the process!

~ ~ ~

How do you defeat self-doubt as a writer? Are there any reminders you'd like to add to this list?


Defeating Self-Doubts: 10 Quick Reminders for the Perfectionist Writer #amblogging #writerslife @TessaEmilyHall


  1. I REALLY needed to hear this today! Number 8 was particularly convicting. Thanks SO much, Tessa!

  2. Oh, and I can hardly wait for Fallen Leaves to come out!! That's SO exciting. I can't wait to read it!!!! =)

    1. Thanks so much, Aleigha! I'll be happy to provide a beta reader copy for free if you'd like to be added to my street team. Just reach out to me and let me know!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post!


  3. I needed this. Lately, I've been struggling with confidence as I go through the editing stages. I'm hoping to self-publish this summer and it can be hard to stay confident as I round out some of the edits. But this helps me a lot. Thank you!

    Ivie Writes

    1. I'm glad you found it encouraging, Ivie! Thanks for commenting!


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