Writing Wednesdays: How to get over your fear that your book sucks

You are your own worst critic, and in this post I share some advice on how to get over your fear that your book sucks.

If you’ve followed Writing Wednesdays for a while, you might be familiar with me saying that you are your own worst critic. And whilst that can be channelled into something useful and productive, it can really get you down.

Believe me, I know. 

I read back over the published version of The Kissing Booth and I think, oh my god, what was I thinking with this paragraph? And this part is so cliché. And this part – ugh! Worst bit is, I can’t even change it now.

Also, when I wrote Rolling Dice, I changed my writing style. I felt like it was better, more mature, and had improved on my writing in The Kissing Booth – and yet it did nowhere near as well on Wattpad. And you know what I thought? I thought that meant that it sucked.

And maybe it does. Who knows! (I mean… you could grab a copy and read it and get back to me? *wink emoji*)

My point is: you’re not the only one who worries about this. A lot of writers, published or not, struggle with self-doubt.

But you can’t let that stop you.

You can’t let it get in the way of your writing, or of you writing.

Question now is – alright, fine. So how do I get over this crippling self-doubt that my book sucks?

Try posting your book online.

Similarly, it might help to ask a friend to read it.

What’s that? You think I’m going crazy? Bear with me on this a minute. You’ve seen your book a dozen times over. You know how your first draft looked, and you know how you want it to end up, and you know your story and characters inside and out. But readers? They don’t have a clue.

To them, it’s a fresh new story they’re excited to get stuck into.

Sure, you might get a couple of negative comments, or some constructive criticism – but even seeing people reading your work will give you a massive boost. Which might be just what you need to believe in yourself.

You might like this post on why you should publish online, or this post on the best ways to deal with criticism of your novel.

If you’re like me, you cringe when you think of people you know reading something you’ve written. 

(I couldn’t sit in the same room as my mum when she read The Kissing Booth – and she wasn’t allowed to read it until it was published.) But some people feel more comfortable giving their writing to a close friend/family member than just posting it online (however anonymously).

Ask for a critique. Ask for help. Or maybe just ask them if they enjoyed it, and what they enjoyed about it, and say you don’t want to hear any negativity.

I never had any faith in my writing until Wattpad. I thought it sucked, but I carried on for fun. I only started to think it was any good when people commented that they liked it, and couldn’t wait for the next chapter.

Which leads me to my next point…

Why did you even start writing? Think about it. Is it something you’ve always liked doing, something you can remember doing since – well, since you could write? Is it because you found a ship you love on a TV show and you want to write AUs? Is it because you got so possessed by the idea of this story and these characters that you couldn’t rest easy until you started writing them?

Remember why you’re writing: because you love it. Because it’s fun. Because you’re passionate about it.

Remember that passion. Hang on to it. Let it push out all the negative, fearful thoughts.

Seriously. All those thoughts of, ‘why are you bothering? You’re wasting your time. This sucks. TRASH IT,’ need to be smashed to pieces and swept away.

It’s not doing you any good. Like I said, self-criticism can be helpful sometimes, in terms of ‘oh, hey, I could improve these areas of my writing’ – but when it’s not constructive and it’s just getting in the way of your writing? FORGET ABOUT IT.

Maybe you need a break from your book (check out this post for a little more on that), even if it’s not necessarily writers’ block. Maybe you need a little breathing space before you get back into it.

Whatever it is, burn away all that horrible self-doubt. There’s time for that after you finish the book – but in the meantime, you have a book to write.

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