Throughout the writing process, doubt is the one hurdle that’s guaranteed for almost every writer of YA literature. It seems like there aren’t any ways to overcome writer’s doubt. No matter what stage you’re at, there’s always a little voice in the back of your mind:
Can I do it?
Should I even try?
There are so many better writers out there, do I have a chance?
In short, yes! Think about your favorite author. It’s likely they have experienced some kind of doubt throughout the course of their writing career and felt like giving up. But they pushed through and ended up creating the book (or books!) that inspire you now. You have that same ability to overcome writer’s doubt and get back to creating.
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Where Does Writer’s Doubt Come From?
It’s important to understand where your doubts stem from, in order to understand how to overcome them. These are doubts that can hinder you from wanting to move forward with your writing process. They could stop you from finishing your first draft or prevent you from publishing your first young adult fantasy novel.
Fear of failure is all too common. When you’re afraid to fail, you wonder if you should even try. For YA writers, there’s also an element of vulnerability. Sharing your words can be scary. Many writers are introverts and sometimes feel worried about exposing their work to others who may not get it. In addition, writers might be afraid that their book won’t sell or be well-received by readers and reviewers.
There are a lot of great writers out there, but the feeling that you’re not enough lingers. Their words have won them awards, film adaptations, and even tattoos from devoted fans. With all that considered, you may be wondering where you stand. Maybe you feel your work doesn’t compare.
Are all the good ideas taken? It often seems that you have nothing new to contribute. This can lead YA writers to feel reluctant about putting their work out there. If there are hundreds of young adult novels out there on the same subject, it can discourage you from adding your book to the mix. Wouldn’t it just be more of the same?
You may also like: 3 Practical Writing Tips to Help with YA Characterization
Overcoming Writer’s Doubt
As with anything you set out to accomplish, there’s bound to be some doubt involved. But the challenge is, how are you going to face it?
A lot of times when YA writers undertake a new project, they listen to their doubts and believe them to be true. They believe that they aren’t qualified or that they’re just going to fail anyway. Because of this, they don’t get to see what would happen if they had actually succeeded, with the outcome being better than they’d anticipated.
Hopefully, you’re not the type to let doubts stop you from completing your writing goals. Even though doubts may come up and make you feel uncertain, you’re ready to move past them. Read on for ways to overcome your writer’s doubt on your YA book project for good!
1. Understand you’re going to fail
This is an unfortunate reality. Failure stings but it’s unavoidable. As humans, we’re bound to mess up one way or another.
If it weren’t for failures, you wouldn’t see ginormous successes such as Stephanie Meyer, who had her book Twilight accepted by a literary agent only after her 14th pitch. What about J.K. Rowling, whose manuscript was rejected a dozen times? Had she given up on the fifth query, we never would have delighted in the Harry Potter stories.
You can learn from your failures and correct your mistakes on the next try. You can also learn a thing or two and reflect on failure with some of the best big-name writers out there. But it is important to not let failure and the fear of it prevent you from knocking out your writing goals.
2. Move past perfectionism
We all want our work to be at its very best. After all, who wants to put out something shoddy?
Even so, there comes a point where you need to move past trying to be perfect. If you don’t, you risk trying to achieve some level of perfection that doesn’t actually exist. No one’s book is perfect.
Query letters are far from perfect. And while it’s important to try your best in everything you do, understand that your various writing projects won’t always be flawless.
3. Recognize you are good enough
There’s always going to be someone better, but don’t let that discourage you! Even though a fellow writer may seem like they write effortlessly or have accomplished more, that doesn’t negate what you’ve done. Your work, despite whatever stage it’s at, is just as good as the next writer’s.
That being said, refrain from comparing yourself with other YA authors. Chances are these people have been in the trenches at some point, and who knows what they went through to find their way to success.
Also, remember that the writing journey is not a sprint, but a marathon. So take your time to learn. Take writing classes, participate in writing groups, experiment with writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing, and savor every moment.
4. Know you have plenty to contribute
It doesn’t matter if your young adult dystopian novels are nothing new or totally out there. They’re needed. Don’t fall into the doubt that your work has no place, even if the topic has been done by hundreds of others.
While no idea is exactly new, there are ways you can make it your own. And if you are looking for ways to turn your story idea into a young adult novel, there are several ways to develop a story that will satisfy your taste and that of your readers. You just need to trust your instincts.
Final Thoughts On Overcoming Writer’s Doubt
As a writer of young adult literature, you’re going to go through periods of insecurity. It’s part of what comes with writing.
But by putting these ways to overcome your writer’s doubt into practice, you can get back to doing what you do best: creating and sharing your work with the world.