Dealing With Self-Doubt While Pursuing a Creative Career

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for sticking with me during this busy time. I know I’m not posting as regularly as I’d like, but now that the first issue of Spinebind is out (finally), I’ll have more time to focus on this blog.

Today I want to talk about self-doubt, particularly surrounding career paths. As you may know, I’m studying Creative and Professional Writing at university, and I’m really enjoying it. I want to write books, personal essays, columns, articles, web content, and poetry, and I also want to edit fiction and non fiction, and write manuscript assessments for publishing houses. There are jobs available, and although it’s going to be hard, I think I’ll be able to get a job that I love. So why is it that I used to just add “it’s like journalism” after telling people what I study? Why was I so scared of telling people I was studying something creative? I think it was because I didn’t want people to think that I thought I’d make it. I was afraid of seeming like I believed in myself.

I also had a habit of mocking myself, so other people wouldn’t do it.

“I don’t have a plan, I study creative writing.”

“I’m used to being unemployed, I study creative writing.”

“Don’t ask me, I study creative writing.”

This sort of thinking doesn’t help anyone with anything, least of all yourself. In the past year I’ve come to realise that the people who try to tear you down and who think badly of you for trying to reach your goals really shouldn’t matter to you. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people. I think we’re all guilty of looking at other people’s life choices and measuring them up against our own. I just mean that other people’s opinions shouldn’t have control over how you feel, or the goals that you set, or the career that you pursue. In the end, it’s your life, and yours alone.

If you are struggling with self-doubt, I’ve found it really helps to look at your intentions. You want to achieve something. You want to do what you love every day. You want to try, even though you know it might not work out. That’s pretty admirable, in my opinion.

So next time you tell someone what you want to do with your life, don’t mock yourself. Don’t feel stupid. Don’t think about what the other person is thinking. My lecturer read us this quote just last week:

“We’re all failures, at least the best of us are.”     – J.M. Barrie

No creative person will go through life without failing at some point. In fact, no person in general will always succeed at everything. And that’s ok.

I hope this helped at least a little bit. I think that self-doubt and fearing other people’s opinions is just a part of learning what is really important. Be proud of yourself that you believe in yourself enough to pursue what you love, and don’t give up.

I’d love to hear your stories, so if you’d like to share, please feel free to start up a discussion in the comments section.

Thanks so much for reading.

Yours sincerely,


3 thoughts on “Dealing With Self-Doubt While Pursuing a Creative Career

  1. This is an important post, Tamara. It seems to me that many people struggle with self-doubt at times, including myself. It can be difficult to tune out others’ criticisms of our decisions, and unless we’re careful we can come to believe the negativity that is thrown at us.

    But I think you’re on the right path. You’re clearly doing what you love; so much so that you even started your own magazine! One phrase I heard from a source I’ve forgotten is, “If you follow your bliss eventually your people will find you.” So if you keep pursuing your passion, if we both pursue our passions, we’ll eventually be surrounded by people who approve of our choices.

    By-the-way, the first issue of Spinebind turned out very good! I’ve downloaded the PDF, and am making my way through it as time allows. Nicola Nixon’s “Interview at a Stripclub” was both suspenseful and descriptive: I could almost feel her anxiety!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Josh, thank you so much! Yes, I think self-doubt is just a part of being human. I’ve definitely found an amazing group of people at university, and my friends from back in school are supportive as well. A big lesson I learned last year is that a lot of what I’m anxious about is actually just in my head. Thank you so much for reading Spinebind! I’m glad you’re enjoying it, and will definitely let Nicola know that you liked her work.

      Thanks again,

      Liked by 1 person

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