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Overcoming self doubt one penny at a time

October 6, 2022

I’ve often heard authors talk about the need to fill up their creative piggy bank with pennies (experiences) that either inspire or help with writer’s block. It’s made aware of when my creative well is running low, and I need to spend time in nature, visit an art museum, concert, or take a road trip.

Recently, I had another type of piggy bank that was in need of some shiny new pennies, but these coins were tokens of self-confidence instead of creativity. Writing is such a solitary experience that it’s easy to be riddled with self-doubt. It takes a lot of effort to publish a novel and very few become best sellers, so it can feel like climbing Mount Everest with no guarantee of getting anywhere near the summit. Yikes!

In one such late night moment, I was doubting my abilities when it occurred to me, I should add some “good” pennies into my bank to overshadow those negative thoughts. Here’s what I did:

  • Remembered of all the times when I was challenged and then succeeded in my previous jobs. The pennies were tumbling in.
  • When I left my secure corporate job to become a marketing consultant at thirty-five, it was scary. I called it my lesson in fear. But in just a few short years, I’d had substantially increased my previous salary not to mention I had the opportunity to manage a variety of exciting, creative projects with several clients–these memories earned me a few more good pennies.
  • Thought about how much I loved to write and how it doesn’t feel like work, just the opposite… added a few more good pennies.

After my piggy bank was full, I fell back into a deep and soundless sleep that night. It sounds simple, but memories hold a lot of weight, which can either be freeing or imprisoning, depending on the previous experience.

Most of us are automatically hard-wired to stew in our negative thoughts. But when I refilled my bank, I realized there were so many more wonderful moments and accomplishments which far outweighed the bad. It seems simple, but I challenge you to add those good pennies into your bank from time to time. You’ll be glad you did.

Heidi McIntyre

I’ve always been a dreamer, and I write to share my dreams

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