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Advice for writers

Author Mindset: Overcoming Self-Doubt

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Overcoming Self-Doubt and Imposter Syndrome

As an author, it’s not uncommon to feel like an imposter or doubt your abilities. The creative process can be a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, and it’s easy to get stuck in a negative mindset. However, there are strategies you can use for overcoming self-doubt and imposter syndrome, cultivate a positive author mindset, and become a more confident and productive writer.

Recognize Imposter Syndrome for What It Is

Imposter syndrome is the belief that you are a fraud and that your success is the result of luck or other external factors rather than your own abilities. It’s a common feeling among authors, particularly those who are just starting out or who are struggling to get published. However, it’s important to recognize that imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon, not a reflection of reality. Just because you feel like a fraud doesn’t mean you are one. Acknowledging this fact is the first step in overcoming self-doubt.

Practice Self-Compassion

To combat the spiderwebs of doubt, practice self-compassion. Self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with kindness and understanding, particularly during times of stress or difficulty. It’s a powerful tool for overcoming self-doubt and imposter syndrome, as it helps you to be gentler with yourself and to focus on your strengths rather than your perceived weaknesses. Some ways to practice self-compassion as an author include:

Reframing Negative Self-Talk: Instead of beating yourself up for mistakes or setbacks, try to reframe your inner dialogue in a more positive and supportive way. For example, if you receive a rejection letter from a publisher, try to view it as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than a personal failure.

Celebrating Your Successes: Make a habit of acknowledging and celebrating your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. This could be something as simple as finishing a chapter or getting positive feedback from a beta reader.

Taking Care of Yourself: Self-compassion also means taking care of your physical and emotional well-being. Make time for self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.

Set Realistic Goals

Another way to target and overcome self-doubt as an author is to set realistic goals for yourself. This means breaking down larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks and setting achievable deadlines. When you meet these goals, you’ll build confidence in your abilities and be more motivated to keep going.

For example, instead of aiming to write an entire novel in a month, set a goal to write a certain number of words or pages each day. Celebrate these small victories, as they accumulate and lead to significant progress over time.

Build a Supportive Community

Writing can be a solitary pursuit, but it’s important to build a supportive community of fellow authors, beta readers, and other professionals who can offer feedback, encouragement, and advice. Having a support system in place can help you feel less alone in your struggles and provide a sounding board for your ideas and concerns. Engaging with writing groups, attending workshops, and participating in online forums can provide valuable connections and insights.

Focus on Growth and Development

Finally, it’s important to remember that writing is a craft that takes time and practice to master. Rather than focusing on your perceived limitations or comparing yourself to others, focus on your own growth and development as an author. Take courses, attend workshops, read widely, and seek out feedback from trusted sources. The more you learn and grow as a writer, the more confident you’ll become in your abilities.

Consider keeping a journal of your writing progress, noting the areas where you’ve improved and the new skills you’ve acquired. This can serve as a tangible reminder of your growth and development, helping you stay motivated and positive.

Overcoming Self-Doubt is Possible

In conclusion, self-doubt and imposter syndrome are common challenges for authors, but they don’t have to hold you back. By practicing self-compassion, setting realistic goals, building a supportive community, and focusing on your own growth, you can cultivate a positive author mindset and achieve your writing goals. Remember that writing is a journey, and every step you take is an opportunity to bloom.

At Atmosphere Press, we understand the challenges of overcoming self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Our team of experienced editors and publishing professionals is here to help you refine your work, offering personalized feedback and comprehensive support throughout the process to ensure your book reaches its full potential. Writing can be a solitary journey, but with the right guidance and support, you can transform your literary dreams into reality.

EKB author photo 1

Erin K. Larson-Burnett, Production Manager at Atmosphere Press (submit your manuscript here!), is a born-and-raised Southerner currently living in Katy, Texas, with her husband and their small domestic zoo. She is an avid ink drinker who lives and breathes books—during the day, she works remotely with authors around the world, honing and perfecting books published through Atmosphere Press. By night, she crafts her own stories…or at least tries to. The Bear & the Rose is her debut novel.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.