“Am I good enough?”
This is one of the most dreaded questions I ask myself. Unfortunately, it’s a question I ask myself everyday.
The Insecurity of a Writer
For the past few weeks, I stopped publicly writing. I’m usually the type of person to develop a “push through” mentality and fight my way through the challenge ahead of me. Lately, that hasn’t been happening. Worse still, I hit one of my worst writing slumps in quite some time.
Some would define this as a bad case of writer’s block — that nasty feeling of looking at the screen and you’re unable to summon words.
I think it’s something more personal. Simply, the lack of confidence in my own words. Recently, I have struggled to find that spark in my writing.
More likely, maybe I’m just scared. No matter how strong your determination is, fear of judgment can be crippling. I have faced rejection and have wondered if my writing isn’t as good as I thought it was. It’s entirely possible that my writing was simply not a good fit and it’s just that — wasn’t meant for that publication.
In any case, I have definitely felt that weight. That crushing feeling that nothing I do will add up. It’s not something I’m proud to admit, but writing feels so much more difficult recently.
Curation is a Cruel Judge of Quality
It could be very well possible that maybe I’m just being too hard on myself. Last month, I wrote my most personal, and most viewed, article here on Medium. Ironically, it was the one thing I didn’t want everyone to read that skyrocketed to success. It was written during an emotional moment in my life and I didn’t think much of it at the time. Perhaps with that success, I also gained an inflated sense of self-worth.
“One success doesn’t make you a great writer. It just means you’re on the right path.”
While I haven’t wrote on a constant basis like many writers here on Medium, I have managed to get a few of my articles curated. This also happened during a time period where Medium was changing it’s algorithm and so who knows why exactly it gained traction. Maybe my writing truly was great. Maybe people actually loved what I wrote.
…or maybe I just got lucky. Who knows.
Everybody has off periods in their writing career. It happens. Instead of running from it, I’m writing about it. Writing all of this sucks.
At the end of the day, you have to trust the process and move forward. We all lose confidence sometimes. Being a great writer isn’t about cranking quality content every chance you get. Sometimes, it’s being self-aware enough to give yourself a break and not be so hard on yourself.
Dayon Cotton is active duty US Navy, fitness enthusiast, freelance writer, and public speaker. To contact me for inquiries, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.