Friday, 26 June 2015

Give Yourself the Chance: On Self-Doubt & Not Giving Up

Give Yourself the Chance

A few weeks back, I made my first tentative steps to having my words published on other platforms. There was a call on Twitter for writers to get in contact to be added to the contributors list for The Coven, a website for and by women. On a nervous whim, I got in contact. I put myself out there, with the risk of rejection, and it scared me. I didn't really think I would get anywhere. Sure, I have a degree in Journalism and run a fairly successful book blog, but I don't really have the right kind of experience. I was sure I would get a "Thank you, but no thank you." I would anxiously open my email, dreading the "no" I was sure would come.

It didn't. After reading the information about myself I provided, the editor was happy to add me to the Contributors list, and soon after I received an email for content submissions for the next month. I couldn't believe it. I was sure I'd get a no.

I pitched an idea inspired by the theme, but again expecting a no. But the editor liked my pitch, and made some suggestions. It was accepted! I really was surprised by the good luck seeming to be coming my way. I thought about what I wanted to say, I made a lot of notes, and I wrote my piece. Once I was happy with it, I sent it off, hopeful and excited.

I got a response within a day or two, and my heart sank. The editor felt it needed "a bit of a rewrite". My self-doubt that left me anxious before was nothing compared to how my low self-esteem in regards to my abilities treated me.

My piece was crap. Of course, it was. Why did I think I could do this? Why did I even bother? There were suggestions, but there's no way I could do what they were asking. I knew it all along. I wasn't good enough.

Except... that wasn't true. I wallowed in my dejection for a while, and then re-read the email. There were some positive points! And the criticism I received was constructive, of course; indicators of how to refocus my writing, rework it, and improve.

Over the next few days, I thought about the points made. Brainstormed where I could take it, coming up with discarding ideas, thinking about word count and what ideas would help me meet it. I worked on it. I took advantage of the tools I had available. I rewrote it. And I submitted it.

I don't know if it'll will be fine this time round, if I'll still need to work on it, or if they decide not to go with it. The point is I'm still giving it a go.

Don't give in to self-doubt.

Be brave, and take that first step to moving towards what you want.

It might not be easy: there might be obstacles along the way, and it's possible you might stumble at the first hurdle, but don't give up.

Keep going, keep trying.

You deserve to give yourself the chance.

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