Many writers undervalue their creativity and aren’t aware of their unique skills and talent. For them, writing is nothing special – it’s just what they do. Viewing their writing with a perfectionist’s eye, they see all kinds of flaws that are invisible to others. While it is important to strive to produce high-quality work, perfectionism and self-doubt can become stumbling blocks that stop you having sufficient belief in yourself to complete your writing project.

If self-doubt and impostor syndrome are stopping your writing from progressing, you may need to spend some time focusing on developing skills that boost your confidence. In her book, The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey, Joanna Penn shares that, like many other high-profile and prolific authors, she regularly struggles with feeling like an impostor. She also advises new writers to embrace self-doubt as part of the creative process.

Combating Writer’s Block and Impostor Syndrome

Unfortunately, writer’s block and impostor syndrome are common challenges for many authors. At some point on your writing journey, your words may stop flowing. Instead, you may spend hours staring at a blank screen without any idea of how to move forward with your manuscript.

These issues are very frustrating and can strike for many reasons. For instance:

  • You might be under pressure in your personal or work life, and the timing for writing your book isn’t right for you at the moment.
  • You might be a perfectionist and be imposing unrealistically high expectations on yourself. In other words, you have an idea of what you want your writing to sound like, but you’re not able to adequately translate your thoughts onto the page in a cohesive and engaging manner.
  • You might be suffering from self-doubt and feel like you are an impostor.

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that will quickly dispel writer’s block and allay imposter syndrome. Most likely, you’ll have to find out what specifically works for you through trial and error.

Strategies for Restoring Your Creative Energy

Regardless of the cause, you shouldn’t just try to plough through and ignore the issue if you are experiencing writer’s block and/or impostor syndrome. Instead, you can try several techniques and strategies to get your creative juices flowing again.

These include:

  • Reciting self-motivating affirmations every day to help you stay on track.
  • Setting aside your manuscript for a while and distracting yourself with something else. If you enjoy being outdoors, for instance, then getting out into nature and going for a long walk might reinspire you to write.
  • Focusing on hobbies such as painting, cooking, sewing, knitting or other creative activities to free up your imagination.
  • Working on yourself (possibly with professional assistance from a therapist or life coach) to resolve any emotional roadblocks that impede you from making progress with your manuscript. (This process can help you uncover gems of inspiration which, in turn, can improve your writing skills in the longer term.)
  • Engaging the services of a writing coach to show you how to unlock the source of your current barrier, as well as supporting you to develop creative solutions to combat the problem.

In summary, if things aren’t currently in balance in your life, you may be well advised to set aside your writing task for a while and pick up where you’ve left off a little further down the track. However, don’t allow this to become an excuse for completely derailing your writing goals. Entertaining these thoughts will not only have a negative impact on your monthly and/or weekly timelines but also make it difficult for you to continue with your writing project when you feel more balanced and in synch with your creative muse.