Writers in the Land of Not-Good-Enough

Kitten Therese being bathed. Not Happy.

Kitten Therese being bathed. Not Happy.

From unpublished writers to bestselling authors, all writers tend to spend some time in the land of Not-Good-Enough. Even Stephen King has insecurities, and they are not about his antichristianism.

How do you deal with the inner voices that tell you that you— and your writing— are No Darn Good? That tell you that you are a fraud or a dilettante, that you can never write to the level of the authors you admire?

I think we need to face up to our Not-Good-Enough feelings. First, write down a list of the negative self-talk that runs through your brain while in Not-Good-Enough land.

For me, there is the ‘you never finish anything’ that I got from my parents, at which time it had nothing to do with writing. Also there is the ‘you have Asperger’s Syndrome, you are not REALLY clever at all in spite of your IQ, writing for your kind is HOPELESS’.

Then, go through your list for things you can do something about. If you are worried about your spelling and grammar, start a program to learn these things. If you feel you are not well read, start a reading program of great literature.

Dealing with the ‘you-never-finish’ thing, I am putting more effort in the kind of writing that I do, in fact, finish: poetry. I’m trying to write a poem, or work on an already-written poem, every day. It has helped me— I’ve actually finished a short story—- something I haven’t done in ten years. (I have nuclear-Armageddon level chronic writer’s block.)

The thing to remember is that you are in charge of your writing life, not that part of your mind that keeps repeating the Not-Good-Enough stuff. You can be a writer— if you are willing to put in the effort to write and to build up your skills.


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