Why Am I Doing This: How I Keep Going through Self-doubt

Some weeks, I really put off opening my computer to work on the blog. When I do get the nerve to open my computer, I might mess around Facebook or check the weather before I turn to writing. Posting day is no doubt the hardest (I’ve already checked Facebook 3 times and know that there’s a 15% chance of isolated showers around 5pm today).

At the heart of that procrastination is the most backwards reasoning in the world: If I don’t try, then I can’t fail.

But I know better. I know that not trying is an even bigger failure.

ChicagoMotivationRun

I’d imagine this thought process isn’t unique to me and not even to blogging. I’d imagine self-doubt and fear spills over into training for a race, preparing for a meeting, trying something new or just putting yourself out there.

With almost every post, I go through the following cycle: 1) this is the best idea ever – I can’t wait to write it! to 2) I wrote this? It’s terrible. No one will want to read this, to 3) Now that I’ve cleaned it up – it’s not so bad, to 4) Well – it’s time to post so here goes nothing.

When I’m in the this-is-terrible part of the cycle, why do I keep typing words:

  1. I said I would so I do.
  2. It’s all mine. If I’m not doing anything with it, no one else is.
  3. It’s my creative outlet and creating, it turns out, is really fulfilling.
  4. It dials in my thoughts. I get a huge satisfaction in taking a thought or a feeling and working it all the way through. By the end of the post, I feel real clarity on that initial thought or feeling.
  5. It has made me a happier person. Maybe that’s #3 and #4. (Or maybe that’s the gratitude journal. I swear it has reprogrammed my brain on how I look at each day.)
  6. I enjoy connecting with others. I underestimated this (probably because I didn’t think anyone would care to read anything that I had to write), but the reaction and the support has been amazing. It’s been so great to hear other people’s stories, experiences and thoughts too!
  7. It’s reduced my fear of judgment, which was almost paralyzing when I started. When negative feedback has come (which has been infrequent) it’s put a face to judging. Those faces reveal the truth of what judging is. Those faces give me power.
  8. It’s curtailed my judgment of others (continuous work in progress).
  9. It’s helped me be able to genuinely support and be happy for others because I know what it takes and how hard it is to try. By hard, I don’t mean just the time and the work, but the mental effort too.
  10. It’s given me courage. There’s a weird pleasure in doing things that are uncomfortable and scare me. Every time I try one thing it opens the door to five other things I want to try and think I can do. I don’t know, maybe that’s called growth.
  11. The learning! About this whole blogging thing and the world.
  12. It makes it really easy for me to find all of my favorite recipes (totally worth it right there).
  13. I never want to look back and say I should have kept trying (have you ever ended a run at 3 miles and felt like you could have pushed through one more? That feeling stinks.)

This post wasn’t on my post schedule today. Last Saturday morning, I glanced at my post schedule (just like a plan makes life easier, a post schedule provides direction). When I saw what I had slated for today, I remembered that I had toyed with the idea of submitting it to a website with a larger audience.

Sometimes when courage overcomes me I fear that it will scurry away if I don’t act on it immediately. Just like that, I was submitting the post.

After a submission, there’s a waiting period to find out if it’s accepted or not. In the waiting period, you’re not supposed to post the piece or submit it anywhere else. So that means two things: 1) I’ve been checking my inbox (just a little bit) and 2) I needed something else for today (hence what you are reading).

I don’t know if it’ll get accepted (send positive vibes!) But I do know that about a year ago, I submitted a different piece to two different websites.

Neither accepted it.

But my blog didn’t catch on fire. And I wasn’t kicked off the Internet.

So I kept writing. I kept getting positive feedback. And I even gained more followers.

If defeat doesn’t kill us, defeat should be used to drive us. (remember Hoda’s story? 27 News Directors told her no, before #28 said yes. #HodasMyHero. Is that a thing? Because if it’s not – we should make it a thing.)

xo,

LVC

What have you done that’s scared you? Or how have you used defeat to drive you?

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5 thoughts on “Why Am I Doing This: How I Keep Going through Self-doubt

  1. theswirlingdervish says:

    Bravo! You’ve articulated what all of us have thought at one time or another. The important thing is to keep going – for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. When I’m in a funk or feeling fearful about moving ahead I revert to a simple thought: I’m creating something new. Just by finishing the post I’m making something that didn’t exist before. Some days that seems like a pitifully small contribution, but it’s still a net positive. And action begets action; even a small step forward is still progress!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DGGYST says:

    I feel like in general, creatives are both easily encouraged and easily discouraged to an extreme. We can get super excited, create something, put it out into the world, and if within 7 minutes we aren’t famous millionaires scheduled to appear on Ellen where she gives us a kitten, a home makeover, and the nobel prize, we’re like ” fine, fuck it” I just try to put my posts out into the world before I have a chance to nit pick them to death!
    https://damngirlgetyourshittogether.com/

    Like

    • Libby Vish Carl says:

      The discouraged is likely tied to the vulnerability in creating and saying, “I made this. Do you like it?” I guess Ellen giving me a kitten would help, but I’m pretty sure the feeling would come back again with the next post! Unless it was Oprah, then maybe the high from her approval would get me through a few more posts!

      Liked by 1 person

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