Losing My Confidence

I’m at a difficult time professionally. Three books out. Various degrees of success. (Ie: not exactly flying off the shelves.) And I know too much about the business to be anything but terrified for my future.

So I have done what any sane person would do: I have lost my confidence.

Now I haven’t lost my will to write, or even my discipline to write. I have continued to apply pen to paper, finger to keyboard. In fact, I have written more words than I care to read, reams and reams, files upon files.

But what I’m not doing is backing one particular story. The end is obliterating the means. Because I’m now scared no one will publish me again. So I start something, and write, write, write, and then stop and think, Is this really interesting enough? Is this what they want? Will anybody buy this?

So I panic and come up with another idea. Aha, I think, this one will be great. This one they will LOVE. And I sit down and write, write, write. Until I slow to a stop. A pause, then: Aha, I have an even better idea. And I’m off. Scribble, scribble, scribble. Until the momentum slows and I stand alone, terrified.

I have now five projects started. And so many notebooks I don’t know where half of them are anymore, piled around my office with my hopes and hard work.

So yesterday I was hanging out on Facebook (as you do) and decided to see what my niece, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, was up to. She’s a photographer and web dynamo. She has no less that four blogs.

Her latest blog is called The Caffeinated Photographer and is about the business of being creative.

And this is what I read: On not getting sucked into your own head.

“It starts as a small grain of doubt in our heads and becomes an increasingly irrational voice screaming “WHAT are you CRAZY? Everyone will hate this, you’re never going to succeed at this crap, why are. you. even. trying???”.

As soon as you even start to hear a teeny tiny teensy little bit of that self doubt in your head step away from what ever you are doing. Go for a walk and find someone to talk to – someone that has absolutely nothing to do with what you are thinking about. It will give your brain a rest. Bad decisions are made when one is sucked into their own head. They can’t think clearly and it takes an outside distraction to prevent the “Really Bad Decision”.

What could this RBD be? Well – it could be a complete destruction of a work that you’ve spent months creating, it could be a discounting of your pricing for a particular client because you THINK you need the business, or it could be quitting all together and throwing your hands up. Don’t do it. Walk away and save your sanity – and your business!”

Well, obviously she was talking to me.

And I was inspired.

So I took a walk and now I’m gathering up two of my current favorites and sending them to my agent.

Wish me luck.

photo by Troy Holden (flickr)



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13 responses to “Losing My Confidence

  1. Hannah

    I wrote that post when I was in a complete funk about editing a set of photos. I freaked out because I had looked at them for 5 hours straight and I was not happy with the result. I almost deleted them – and then I heard my mother’s voice in my head telling me to take a walk around the block… like she always did when I was a kid and in a crabby mood. It seems to help me, so I figured I might not be the only one :).

  2. ninakillham

    Well, it was very helpful to me. Thanks so much! In fact, I think it’s time for another walk….to pick up the kids.

  3. your sister

    always knew my child would be for good in the world

  4. ninakillham


  5. Definitely wish you luck, Nina! I could relate to this. And I think we should have another coffee soon.

  6. ninakillham

    Yes, let’s. And see who famous we can see this time!

  7. EXCELLENT post! Yes, I have lost all my notebooks with my notes for five novels cos they were all crap, lol… Thanks for this.

  8. Shiver me timbers! Been there, Nina. For real. And it was no fun at all.

    God bless you for posting this. I just wish you weren’t going through it.

    Talk about talent! You gots all that you could ever need.

  9. this blog post is making the rounds of facebook. good one, nina!

  10. Great post. We’ve all been there.

  11. ninakillham

    Thanks for all the comments. It’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  12. Great post. It’s so easy to let the self-doubt creep in. Next time it happens, I will go for a walk! Good luck with the projects you’ve sent to your agent.

  13. Hi Nina, you’re brave and courageous .. you took the step. Congratulations. Any and all of us who are entrepreneurs can so relate to EXACTLY what you were speaking of..I’ve been there, and STILL am, and it fluctuates from day to day. What I need is CLARITY to help regenerate the brain, and get all those neurons working again. None of this is a lack of knowledge, experience, credibility, .. maybe it’s just a lack of confidence, at times… I don’t know, but I agree. LEAVE it, WALK, talk to someone else, and GET OVER IT. We’re all capable, sometimes just need a breather… which is another question, do we EVER give ourselves a break, or a tap on the back ? ? ? Persistence is a virtue. Hugs, Joyce

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