Self-Belief is Hard – How To Do it Anyway

Laura Drake

Y’all know that I’m the Golden Retriever of the writing world. The grandma cheerleader in a skirt that won’t zip (no photo, because no one wants to see that. Trust me).

But I had an epiphany today. I wanted to share, in case it helps you, too.

It was one of those golden days. You know, the one where you left off yesterday in the middle of a great scene, and you can’t wait to sit down and finish it. A day later, I sat down and bam! a plot knot that I had unraveled with the perfect solution – and it even fit in with historical reality!

Double boom.

I know, those days don’t happen to me often, either.

Then it occurred to me. Two minutes before I sat down on those days, I had no idea what was going to happen. It could have been a typical day of slogging, or even one of those days where you’re chipping words out of granite with a plastic spoon.

Golden Retriever or no, most days, I have as hard a time putting my butt in the chair as you do. Don’t get me wrong – I do get my butt in the chair – Every. Single. Day. But I don’t float to the keyboard on floral flavored farts.

Just saying.

So, logically, if I don’t know what kind of writing day I’m going to have when I plop down, why the dread? I have going on 25 years worth of evidence that there’s nothing to dread – after all, I’ve survived tons of plastic spoon days. And I have thirteen books to show for it. Thirteen books I’m very proud of.

So why does my head go to Armageddon, every time? You know the drill:

  • What makes me think I can do this writer-thing?
  • How could I have thought this was a good premise for a book? It’s a monkey-shit sandwich!
  • This plot snarl is a Gordian Knot. Utterly. Impossible. 
  • Even if I flog myself to The End, my editor is going to give me the hairy eyeball – like, REALLY? You spent six months, and this is what you give me?

Do you remember back when you started writing? I mean the very beginning, when all this was new, and you explored. You played. You giggled (okay, maybe that was only me). The point is, you loved it like a first crush.

Back then, you had zero knowledge that you could do this writing thing. You had NO evidence that you could – no The Ends, no published books. 

So, let’s recap – when I had no evidence, I thought I could do it. After 13 published books as evidence, I’m pretty sure I can’t.

How jacked up is that? What is the difference?


Laura Drake

Dumb, isn’t it? Think about this, when you’re eyeing the chair with dread. Repeat after me…

My brain lies. I CAN do this.

And if I don’t do it perfectly today, the chair will be here tomorrow, and I can fix it.

So, whether you have one almost book, or 100 finished books, instead of dread, try approaching that chair with that beginner’s attitude: I’m going to have fun, finding out if I can do this. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

You don’t believe it? That’s okay. You can lie right back to your brain. It’ll believe it, just like you believe it’s lies.

You’re going to sit. You’re going to work through the problem. You’re eventually going to type The End. How can I be so sure? Because you’re a writer, and that chair is a gateway to your dreams.

Laura Drake, Author

Besides, where else are you gonna find a career with such a great uniform?

Am I the only one with ‘chair-dread’? What do you do to overcome it?


  1. Christopher Lentz on January 28, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    No dread here. I see it as a blissful blessing…that I have been given the life experiences and the resources to tell stories. MY stories. And my goal is to become a “best-telling” author. Bestselling would be cool, but I’m shooting for “best-telling.”

    The way I see it, my chair and keyboard are enablers, not disablers. They’re portals, passports and playgrounds.

    Do I have doubts? Yep. Am I an imposter? Absolutely. But as you said above, Laura, I love storytelling like a first crush.

    • Laura Drake on January 28, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      You are NOT an imposter, Chris – you’re DOING it!

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