Have you heard that saying, “When in doubt, chuck it out.”? I think it’s applied to food. As in that chicken that’s a day past it’s use by date but it looks OK and you haven’t got anything else to cook for dinner but there’s definitely some doubt as to whether you’ll give the entire family food poisoning or not.
The bit that catches me though, is the ‘when in doubt’ part. Because when aren’t I in doubt. And when I watch my sons, who are now 6 (almost 7 Mum) and 4 (almost 5 and a big boy Mum), they’re often dealing with doubts too. So doubt seems to be a normal part of life.
I have a lot of doubt about my abilities as a writer and my abilities to make writing into a paying career. But I think there’s some things that I (and you) can do to take control of doubt.
1. Get feedback. Honest feedback. Honest but constructive feedback. Because nothing assuages the doubt like someone telling you, one way or the other, whether something you’ve done is crap or not (in the nicest possible way.)
2. Get educated. Read a website or a book or go to a course and find out if that thing you’ve done and your not sure about was actually done in the best way…and how you can do it in the best way.
3. Get perspective. Are you being to hard on yourself? Or unrealistic with your goals? Do your doubts stem from the fact that you’ve only just started something but you’d like it be further along than it is? If so, it might be time to take a walk and think it through. You might find that you can think yourself out of your doubts.
So, when faced with doubts, I’m going to give these strategies a concerted effort. Because while doubt can be useful it can also be crippling if you’re not controlling it.
What doubts do you have? And how do you keep them in check?