The Art of Dealing with Doubt and Regret
Authors and artists often deal with something called “imposter syndrome” where they believe they’re masquerading as this talented individual when in reality that thing they’re creating is atrocious.
The true reality is that “imposter syndrome” is nothing more than self-doubt creeping its way into your mind. I actually think it’s dangerous to give it a label because then it’s easier to fall back into it.
Doubt shows up to derail you from achieving that thing you truly desire. You deem yourself not worthy of attaining that special dream of yours so you write a narrative telling yourself you’re not good enough.
It’s time to re-write that narrative! It comes from letting go of the past, not dwelling on the future, and instead focusing on the present.
Somewhere in the story of your personal journey someone or something made you believe that you weren’t good enough. Once ingrained in your mind it becomes easier for you to revisit that doubt when you want to curl up with it. Like a scratch on a vinyl record you keep tripping over that spot which derails any momentum you’ve built up.
For instance, as of this writing I’m coming up on another birthday. As we grow older we often reflect on where we’ve been in our lives. I know there’s something in my past that I have deep regret about. Everytime I think about that missed opportunity it trips me up.
There’s a wonderful quote from the TV series Smallville that says:
“You spend so much time dwelling on the darkness of what happened in the past that you’re missing the present that’s right in front of your eyes.”
Leaving pain and regret in the past where it belongs will relieve you of your doubt. And you don’t need to worry so much about the future either. As long as you shed the weight of the past that’s holding you back it will all work out just fine.
So how do you focus on the present if you’re in the midst of a turbulent time in your life? Channel the energy of worry and woe into your creative outlet. When you sit down to write your book focus only on the words that are spilling out over the page. Your mind doesn’t need to fixate on spelling errors, plot flow, publishing, reader response, or your number of followers on social media. All you need to do is release control over the outcome and allow yourself to truly create.
As those other things fall to the side you can harness your creative flow and pour your creativity out into something you’ve enjoyed creating. And if you’ve had the pleasure of exploring your talent in such a way how in the world could you call yourself an imposter? Lose the doubt and get back to the reason you enjoyed writing in the first place.
If you still find yourself stuck on worry, doubt, or regret and can’t seem to push forward here are a few things that can shift your focus:
These activities get you to shift your focus and allow you to tap into your creative energy. There are days when we’re not going to feel up to tackling the project we’ve been wanting to work on and that’s ok too. Take the pressure off your back and give yourself room to just be creative on your time and on your terms. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you silence all the critics in your head…especially your own.