We are insecure for a lot of reasons.
We’re insecure because we probably have artistic temperaments that makes us feel deeply. We overthink and over analyze. We find it’s easier to dwell on what it negative in our life rather than what is positive. We may have lived in environments in which confidence and boldness was discouraged and despair was fertilized with lies and fear. We may lack skills. We may fear failure. We may long for approval and we know it’s hard to achieve it anywhere, much less in this field. We’ve been burned before. The last person who read our work was mean or hateful or didn’t get us. We’re bound too tightly to the failures of yesterday. We speak a lot of negative words to ourselves. We compare others’ highlight reel to our bloopers. We are so aware of our weaknesses that we can’t comprehend that we have strengths. We’re too worried about what others think.
This insecurity is a poison.
It can seep into our lives, into our motivations, and into the words that we put together. This poison can infect our subconscious, our thoughts, and our habits. It has a paralysis that freezes all of our dreams. It’s a hallucinogen that creates ravenous monsters that devour our hopes in one bite. It’s contagious. You can be given this pestilence by someone else with their disapproving looks, their snide comments, and their general disrespect of you.
What do you do if you are insecure?
Here are my Top 10 easy fixes for some short term relief from insecurity. The long term fixes my need bigger guns!
1. Practice writing. You will get better with practice. Set a word count goal or set a time limit, even ten minutes will do, and put in your effort to get better. Strengthen those writing muscles with daily workouts, even a small one.
2. Read. Read books by authors that you would love to be compared to. Study what they are doing. Look for things that you know you can do like them, like character development or dialogue. Look for things that inspire you and analyze why it moves you so.
3. Take time alone. Get away, even for a few minutes, from any people or environment that is not completely supportive.
4. Practice positive self talk. This is tough and it takes practice. Write down truths about who you are.
5. Make a list of things that you are really good at. They don’t have to be writing related. But these are your strengths. And you should be proud of these.
6. Make a list of your accomplishments. Big or small. Things that you did that were hard and you succeeded at. These things should make you hold your head up high.
7. Go for a walk. Or exercise in some way. Exercise releases endorphines and those will make you feel better about yourself. My therapist said that 20 minutes of exercise is worth one dose of Prozac. I totally love this.
8. Write down personal goals. Make them small and measurable. Something for the day, something for the week. Something for the month. And then work toward those goals. Then reward yourself for meeting them.
9.Identify the toxic, discouraging people in your life and do your best to remove yourself from them. This is not easy, but emotional and verbal abuse can wear on your self esteem and wear you down. Stay with healthier people.
10. Eat well. Without getting militant about it, you will feel better and have a better emotional health if you minimize processed foods.
Want more? Stay hydrated. Limit stimulants. Get enough sleep. Write about why you want to be a writer. What prompted this goal in the first place. Join a writers group. Like 10 Minute Novelists. See a therapist. Seek spiritual help.
Now all of these are practical steps. But this is not a complete list.
Being a writer is hard. Being a human being with emotional needs is harder. But you can do this. Any energy you put into caring for yourself emotionally is worth doing.
Author Katharine Grubb lives in Massachusetts, homeschools her five children, bakes bread, does a ridiculous amounts of laundry and sets her timer to write stories in ten minute increments. She believes in this so much she created a Facebook group for it (10 Minute Novelists) and she runs a website for the group: http://www.10minutenovelists.com. Her favorite type of books to read and write are quirky, imaginative tales of romance, faith and humor.
Starting in July, a new weekly newsletter, The Rallying Cry, will be released from Katharine Grubb. Sign up if you need a weekly dose of encouragement covering all of your life, not just writing. The Rallying Cry will be an honest, kleenex-worthy, you-can-do-this, faith-filled message of hope for those who need it. You can sign up below.