Insecurity And Self-Doubt Stall Your Writing

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

In the English class of Secondary 2 (Grade 8 outside Quebec), whenever we learned a new verb or tense, I would invent a fragment of a story as practice. Other classmates tried to imitate my concept but failed.

{TANGENT: I wish I still had these. As Robert Heinlein said, “Finish what you start”. I left a lot unfinished then.}

Flash forward to Junior College. I took Creative Writing. Like in English I came up with many unfinished ideas. The teacher praised them.

Based on that praise I enrolled in Creative Writing 2 the next semester.

That was a mistake.

We had the same teacher, but he was stricter and focussed on more literate fiction, so my genre tastes were out. He assigned us an essay on a story by Edgar Allan Poe. That story overwhelmed the entire class, so nobody wrote the essay. Frustrated, he canceled the assignment. I think I could appreciate it now, but that’s not the point.

The class intimidated me and destroyed my confidence to write. Until 2002 I mostly wrote only non-fiction and a small handful of fiction bits. What caused a change?


The emphasis of quantity over quality, just getting a story out of my head and onto the page, helped me to stop second-guessing myself-at first.

(More on this soon.)

Don’t get it right. Get it written.

Lord Tennison?

I succeeded four times in a row and nine more times not (maybe I was over-thinking more, writing less)… but there’s another reason:


Despite a habit to combat it, despite every attempt to beat it… it’s still there. Doubt can still cripple me. You too.

How do you combat it?

Just suck it up, and write.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

The fear, the self-doubt… it’s always there. It hits many other writers:

Likely you’ve heard of Neil Gaiman. Award-winning Sandman graphic novel author. Most of his books have been successful, some have won those awards.

Does he feel confident when he writes?

No. He calls his agent in a panic, feeling he’s a failure, unsure he can finish his latest project.

This article doesn’t offer a concrete solution to doubts and fears when writing, just that these feelings affect everyone.

Get a short story.




Determined writer. NaNoWriMo Ace (4 wins in a row) 2002–06. In it until 2011. Many RPG publications too.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium


Meet Richa Chaturvedi: The shy girl who amazes us with her beautiful writings, not to forget the…

This is the first blog to practice my English, to record and study thing in a day.

How I made almost $5,000 writing blogs in less than six months

Haters Make You a Better Writer

A fireside chat with the creator of Arsenic Lullaby

Got a Story to Tell? Enter The Medium Writers Challenge.

Poetry Writing Prompts — Week Eighteen

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jeffrey Allan Boman

Jeffrey Allan Boman

Determined writer. NaNoWriMo Ace (4 wins in a row) 2002–06. In it until 2011. Many RPG publications too.

More from Medium

Blueprint Mastermind Presents New Educational Podcast as Part of Ongoing Mission to Help Clients…

At The Table Read, we are on a mission to celebrate creativity Such as Actors, singers, songwriter,
 painters, designers, podcasters, filmmakers, authors. We want to offer a platform to 
 creatives around the world to share their work with our audience, and excite our readers 
 with their stories. We work with writers, podcasters, artists, musicians, actors and more. 
 As long as you’re creative and passionate about what you do, we want to celebrate everything 
 you’re doing with the people who

Writing is a Lonely Road!

What Being Unprepared to Run a Marathon Taught Me about Writing a Novel

Stuck in a Creative Rut