Doubting Myself as a Writer

As a child, I struggled to learn how to read and write. My peers surpassed me while I was left behind to fend for myself. It wasn’t until my mother, who was worried I had inherited her dyslexia, had asked my first grade English teacher to help tutor me. Those days in the library, I worked hard to improve my reading and writing skills. My teacher introduced me to various books, and along with my brother’s help, ignited my passion for reading. However, it wasn’t until the sixth grade when I was encouraged to try writing. 

I first became interested in writing during my sixth-grade year, when my English teacher assigned the class a task to write about a superhero. I was enthralled with the different stories I drafted for the assignment, and it pushed me to take writing seriously. 

Throughout my middle school and high school years, I was praised for my writing skills. Adults would gush over my words and encourage me to continue to write. I had this misconceived notion that I was the best writer in my whole town, and no one could ever come close to my skill. After I left home to major in journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), I realized how arrogant I was. My peers at school were just as skilled as I was, and some were even better at writing. It didn’t help that the dramatic change from creative writing to more technical, journalistic articles made me question my ability to write. 

Pexels / Lisa Fotios

To become a better journalist and writer, I forced myself to write for the school paper. As I wrote, I saw my skills improve, I was writing important stories, and I was proud of my work. Then, my sophomore year began, and my class load became too difficult. I found myself missing school paper meetings, and I missed deadlines. 

I was once again slowly losing confidence in my writing and myself. However, when COVID-19 numbers rose and forced the world to shut their doors to hide from an invisible evil, I fell into familiar patterns. While I was stuck inside, I had more time to focus on reading and journaling. I made sure not to take myself too seriously when it came to my journal. It was ok if every line of poetry didn’t make sense, or a short story I stuffed into the pages lost its shine. I was also interning at a local magazine, forcing me to write every week. I felt my writing muscle become more powerful and athletic. 

Then the fall semester started, and those doubts found themselves once again creeping back into my mind. Every article I wrote could never measure up to the perfect image I had in mind. I was an imposter. My recent articles could never compare to the ones I previously wrote. Sadly, it’s normal for people to doubt themselves, and while it’s okay to lose confidence in yourself, it’s never okay to stop pursuing your passion. I am still trying to improve my writing and to feel confident in my ability to write.

Through this journey, I’ve learned that doubt doesn’t have an instant solution like the ending of a "Disney Channel" episode, and that’s okay.