Wednesday, March 2, 2016

6 Ways to Break the Habit of Insecurity #IWSG

All writers will experience a level of insecurity at some time--some more than others, some more frequently than others. It’s a natural and inevitable part of being a writer. However, this feeling of insecurity can become a repeating beastie that lurks around for too long and inhibits your creativity until your writing comes to a shuddering stop. It can become so bad that the moment you sit down to write, the insecurity flares up again. This is bad. And this is what happens when your insecurity has become a habit.

It’s time to break the habit of insecurity, and below are 6 ways that might help:

1. Recognise it’s a habit not an addiction, and that means the problem isn’t insurmountable, no matter how dark those insecurities feel. Plus, knowing there’s a fixable problem is the first step to making a change.

2. Learn what triggers your insecurities. If reading reviews turns your insecurities into a bad rash, then stop reading those reviews. If the glare of a blank page is the trigger, then try filling that page as fast as possible, allowing yourself to put down complete rubbish. At least then the page won’t be blank anymore and you’ll be able to get on with editing. If it’s an insensitive critique partner, then have a conversation with that partner, or find another one.

3. Change your environment. This one works like a dream for me. Often it’s just the cue of sitting at your computer and opening the document that’s enough to trigger a multitude of insecurities. Try changing where you write, even how you write. Try writing in a different room, or at the local coffee shop or park. Try handwriting for a while or dictation.

4. Schedule your writing time. This needs some discipline. Set a specific time to write every day and stick to it—even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. But make sure you spend that time writing. This does not include checking your social media, going through your emails, researching, staring at the monitor, or anything else you might’ve used to justify not writing.

5. Stop focusing on the negatives, i.e., how much you didn’t achieve, how you got a one star review, how your critique partner didn’t love that scene you thought was gold, how little time you got to write, how few words you scratched out this week. Start focusing on the positives, i.e., how much you did achieve, how much you love writing, how you got an awesome four star review, how you kept writing despite those insecurities nipping at your heels. Train your thoughts, so when you start to feel insecure, you won’t let it continue, or at the very least, you won’t be debilitated by those insecurities.

6. Be kind to yourself and take it slow. Don’t expect the immediate disappearance of insecure thoughts. Insecurity is what we do as writers. It’s part of the creative self. If those insecurities come screaming back—and they will—don’t flog yourself over another perceived failure. Just continue to work through it

Know that all habits can be broken with a little work and discipline. They may not break at the snap of a finger, but over time you can form a new positive way of thinking which will aid your creativity, not hinder.

How do you work through insecurities?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.