Welcome to week two, part one of my Artist’s Way Challenge! Overcoming self-doubt is key this week. Cameron calls week two, “Recovering a Sense of Identity.” This week is

 “aimed at moving you into your personal identity, a self-defined you.” 

Sometimes our self-worth is the main obstacle to creative recovery, but external factors, like the people we surround ourselves with, also play a role.

There are six sections in this chapter, plus a variety of activities to work through at the end.

Going Insane

Chapter two begins with a discussion on self-doubt, and how if we’re not careful, it can lead to self-sabotage. Second-guessing ourselves is a common form of self-doubt. For instance, believing a big win is the result of “luck,” or worse, never taking risks because we tell ourselves we’ll never make it. These are the times when our affirmations are vital. We need to correct our “think.”

Sometimes doubts arise from external sources. For instance, even a well-meaning friend can derail our success by offering a negative critique during our creative recovery. While we’ll need to learn to handle negative criticism eventually, we must give ourselves time to work through our roadblocks. Overcoming self-doubt is a process, and it won’t occur overnight.

Poisonous Playmates

Cameron broadens the examination of external doubt in chapter two with a discussion about toxic relationships. In chapter one, we learned that our inner artist wants to feel a sense of safety and security. Part of encouraging a sense of safety means avoiding toxic people, especially during our creative recovery. Toxic people stand in the way of our creativity. They remind us why we’ll never be any good. Psychology Today discusses eight different behaviors of toxic people in this article.

Overcoming Self-Doubt - avoid Toxic people
Avoid Toxic Types

The best thing we can do, especially during our recovery, is honor our creative time. We all have a responsibility to others, but we must also protect and nurture the time we need for ourselves. Our time is just as valuable. Self-care is vital.


Cameron suggests crazymakers are those types we surround ourselves with to avoid our creative recovery. They’re like a storm in our lives. They thrive on drama. They might be a friend, family member, or boss, but whoever they are, they feed on our energy and usually expect us to cater to their every whim. They’ll show their colors at inopportune times, destroying our schedules, expecting special treatment from us, and using up our time and money until we have nothing left for ourselves. Disorder! Chaos!

Why do we allow this? Cameron reveals allowing such behavior plays to our self-destructive tendencies. Sometimes the thought of branching out alone and embracing the creative life is more frightening than our current status quo. If we have an abuser in our lives, we must admit it, including our role in it, to move on.

Overcoming self-doubt is already tricky enough without permitting such bad behavior.

I’m fortunate enough not to have such a person in my life, though I know they exist. I’ve heard plenty of complaints from people in passing. I believe this section goes beyond creative recovery. It touches on deeper issues that may require professional guidance. If you have such a person in your life, there’s nothing wrong with admitting you need additional help. Perhaps, more important than creative recovery.


This section discusses another type of self-doubt: skepticism.

“We’ve gotten brave enough to try recovery, but…we still feel too much like frauds to handle some success.”

When we are skeptical, we tend to push away opportunities we consider outside of our reach. During our creative recovery, we should try our best to stay openminded. We may not be ready to overcome our negative beliefs, but we should be open to questioning them and understanding how they impede our progress.


“In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me.”

I love this quote from Cameron because I’ve always struggled to live in the present moment. I rarely regret my past anymore because I have come to accept that it has led to the person I am today. Though I may not always like that person, I can only move forward.

“Onward ever, backward never!”

– Marie Thieme

The future is both uncertain and full of possibilities. My mind wanders to it. I agonize over how things might change, for better or worse. I live in my eventual success or misery.

Overcoming Self-Doubt - The road of uncertainty
The Future is uncertain

“Attention is a way to connect and survive.”

Cameron proposes our capacity to pay attention is in direct proportion to our quality of life. Paying attention to what’s around us allows healing to begin. We may become overwhelmed by the whole of our life, but if we review each moment separately and in the present, we can see life’s beauty. Overcoming self-doubt is difficult when you can’t accept where you are right now.

Rules of the Road

Finally, Cameron offers some “Rules of the Road, in order to be an artist.” A couple of these rules stood out to me:

#1 “Show up at the page. Use the page to rest, to dream, to try.”

#5 “Remember that it is far harder and more painful to be a blocked artist than it is to do the work.”

#9 “Remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work.”

I believe #9 is particularly representative of the point of going through creative recovery. Ultimately, we must stop judging ourselves before we can release our creations to the rest of the world. Overcoming self-doubt is a big part of that journey.

If you’d like to read along, you can find Week one’s posts here – part one: Creative Blocks and part two: Creative Exercises.


4 thoughts on “Overcoming Self-Doubt: Recovering a Sense of Identity

  1. This one really rings true for me. Surrounding yourself with positive influences is so important and something we had to do for ourselves with our business. Lastly if you don’t believe in yourself then who else is going to to. Gotta keep your brain positive too!


    1. Absolutely. I think surrounding ourselves with good influences is vital to any kind of recovery. It’s also much less stressful and disruptive to our lives.
      And of course a positive mindset goes a long way in improving our lives and overall success. It can be difficult to stay positive sometimes, but you just have to do all the things you can to try to make it there.

      Thanks for stopping by!


    1. Agreed! It can be so easy to give up when we see the first sign of defeat, but we have to suspend our judgment. First, our self-judgment, and then our concern for how other people will receive our work. I feel like most people never get past the self-judgement part, especially when it comes to creative work.

      I think subjectivity is a part of that. We can’t measure success in the same way with creative work as we can in more results-oriented fields, like science, mathematics, or business.


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