Swoon Author Kate Evangelista: When Doubt Comes Knocking
I suffer from an almost crippling sense of self-doubt.
Growing up, I guess you could say I was the poster child for the warning: Don’t Talk to Strangers. I'm the what-not-to-do kid because I talk to strangers. In fact, I would even run after strangers just to talk to them.
Somewhere along the way I lost that confidence. I think it was right around the time my brother was born. I'm five years older so there was a long stretch of years were I was the apple of my parents' eyes. When my brother was born that changed. I became unsure of my place. That uncertainty grew into a hot temper. Without going into great detail, here's the breakdown: being bullied + hot temper = retreating into self.
After high school, I slowly found myself again in college. I was beginning to see what I wanted in life. I knew I loved literature, so I got into that. After graduating, I taught for a couple of years. This is where I learned to hide my self-doubt and fake confidence. Because if you start teaching like you don't know what you're doing the students will eat you alive.
Eventually I figured out that writing is my happy place. It's what I want to do with my life. So I needed a way to make a living off writing so I can support myself. That was the dream.
There are many who will say I did it all wrong. First, I quit my day job. Then I parted ways with my agent. Then I started with small presses. Basically the road I took wasn't the one I imagined for myself. But everything worked out. I'm here. And through the generosity of Swoon Reads I have found a home.
Now, what I didn't know at the time I started my publication journey was there will be many triggers to my self-doubt. To the point where it will get so bad that writing stops being fun. That's a scary place to be in. Being told you’re not good enough. See comments about your work sucking. Being turned down over and over again. And these are just the tip of the iceberg of triggers.
Then I'm asked: Why do you stay so positive?
Simple. It's the only way I survive the self-doubt. If I can't see the bright side I probably won't be here anymore.
Then I'm asked, why keep writing? It's obviously detrimental to your mental health.
Again another simple answer: Because I love it. I must write. Because I have to. Because there are so many stories I want to tell. And I know in my heart that it's the only thing I'm good at.
So despite the self-doubt, or maybe even because of it, I soldier on.