I don't believe there has ever been an author who--at one point in time--has never suffered from a minuscule amount of self-doubt. Recently, I've had my own bouts with this affliction and the symptomotology has been enough to render me virtually useless. In going through my manuscript and some of my former blogs, I've noticed glaring typos and grammatical errors--I should, at times, be locked away for comma abuse--as well other cringe-inducing faux pas. As my blogs are being shared and re-tweeted (of which I'm extremely appreciative of), I often find myself critiquing the hell out of what has been passed around and fear I may not be living up to the high standards I try to set for myself. This stems partly from sheer fear; fear of being rejected by those in the community I'm striving to gain acceptance in. The other part is being exposed to those who write so flawlessly and so seemingly effortlessly that I often wonder if they have the same fears and self-doubts that I do. The answer to that is, I'm certain, a resounding YES.
The question is how do you prevent it from consuming you and your writing? I believe the answer to that is through lots of practice, support and self-motivation. Now let's analyze some techniques, shall we? (Too bad, we're going to anyway...)
Creativity is key--For a writer, creativity is second nature. Telling a writer to be creative is like telling a kid to play at Chuck-E-Cheese; it's just going to happen. When you write and you get stuck on the way your dialogue, sentence structure, narrative, or overall thought process is panning out, don't think to yourself, well, I'm not going to be the next Sara Gruen, keep writing. Allow your creativity to flow until you've either worked out your problems or completely replaced them with new, even better ideas. Perhaps open a different document to draft alternative scenarios or move on to a completely different chapter in your book and come back to the section that's plaguing you when you feel you're better able to tackle it. After all, the world doesn't need another Sara Gruen, it needs to be introduced to you.
A final tool I've found particularly helpful when I'm in a slump is to read positive remarks I've received on past projects. Those kind comments and helpful suggestions have a way of rejuvenating me like emotional coffee, giving me the drive to carry on and the ability to leave those negative thoughts in the dust.