Setting‌ ‌Self‌ ‌Doubt‌ ‌on‌ ‌Fire:‌ ‌Help!‌ ‌I’m‌ ‌Self-Sabotaging!‌ ‌

Help!‌ ‌I’m‌ ‌Self-Sabotaging!‌

Hi all, I’m back, even though 2021 is nearly over (or over, depending on when you read this post). Yes, I’m like the guest who turns up five minutes before the end of a party and shouts, ‘Let’s dance, baby!’. 

So, where have I been? Sadly, not Narnia. I’ve been drowning in a huge to-do list while not getting much done at all. Yeah, 2021 sure didn’t go to plan. You know, I’ve spent months trying to get this post topic to you all, but I just never had enough time. Actually, it was more like I was wasting time—procrastination, self-doubt, and fear have b**** slapped me this year. I’m not joking. I have the bruises to prove it. It’s due to what has (or hasn’t) happened this year that gave me the idea for this post.

So, what do I want to talk to you all about today? Well, my name’s Nicole J. Simms, and I’m a self-sabotaging writer. I’m sure many of you can relate to this statement—not the Nicole J. Simms bit. There can only be one! (Highlander, if you know, you know)—I’m referring to self-sabotage. 

What is Self-Sabotage? 

So, what is this self-sabotage that I speak of? Well, my friends, self-sabotage is when your thoughts or behaviours hold you back from what you want to do (career, personal, life, etc.). Basically, you keep getting in your own way. And this is something that writers often do—procrastination, anyone?

How Do We Self-Sabotage?

Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings’ video ‘5 Ways Writers Sabotage Their Success’ explains the five ways we can self-sabotage: 

  • Making excuses for why you can’t do something.
  • Focusing too much on the negatives.
  • We forget to continue learning.
  • We don’t properly prioritise our work. 
  • We allow self-doubt to gnaw at us.

We can also do the following: 

  • Walk away from projects once they become difficult. 
  • Procrastinate, which can be caused by feeling overwhelmed, doubting your abilities and poor time management. 

How to Overcome Self-Sabotage 

As writers, the reason for our self-sabotage is often down to our fear of failure, past experiences and a need for control. So how can we overcome this and move forward towards our goals? Well, as always, I have five tips for you: 

  1. Notice what triggers the self-sabotage. For example, is it fear, life going too well, or self-doubt? Make a list of these triggers and take the time to understand why these affect you the way they do. It has also been suggested that practising mindfulness when noticing a trigger can help. See the podcast episode I mention below.
  2. Admit that you are self-sabotaging and be kind to yourself. Beating yourself up about self-sabotaging only makes you feel worse—trust me, I know.
  3. If fear of failure is the reason you self-sabotage, then try stepping outside your comfort zone by submitting your stories and build-up a pile of rejections to help you get used to failure.
  4. Talk about it with someone you trust, preferably another writer. 
  5. Remind yourself of the reason you want to achieve your goal in the first place—sometimes we just need a reminder to get us back on track.

We are about to start a new year, so now is the time to work on what holds us back, so 2022 can be a better and more productive year than 2021. If you have been self-sabotaging, I’d love to hear from you—it always helps to know that you’re not alone on this journey.

Before I go, I would like to tell you about my new journal. I’m creating a set of Setting Self-Doubt on Fire journals, and the first one, The Self-Doubt Beating Writers’ Journal, gives you tips and space to work on your self-doubts. The journal will last you for six months, and you can buy it now from Amazon

And don’t forget, if you struggle with self-doubt and you want to be part of a group where writers can share their fears, motivate each other and offer support, then join my ‘Setting Self-Doubt on Fire Squad’ group. 

Okay, that’s all I have for you today. Stay safe, everyone. I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a happy new year.

“No more excuses. No more self-sabotage. No more self-pity. No more comparing yourself to others. Time to step up. Take action right now and start living your life with purpose.⁠” ― Anthon St. Maarten


Need more information and/or advice? I recommend the following: 

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