Blog,  From One Writer To Another

On Being A Writer And Battling Self-Doubt

Own it! As a writer, you struggle with self-doubt. If you don’t, you’re a rare specimen!

In all my reading about writing (Joanna Penn, Jerry Jenkins, Nick Stephenson, et al) I’ve found that self-doubt is a very common phenomenon in writers.

In her book The Successful Author Mindset Joanna Penn not only has a whole chapter on self-doubt and imposter syndrome, but she has a myriad of related chapters: “Fear Of Failure”; “Fear Of Rejection and Criticism”; “Your Inner Critic”, “Fear Of Judgement”; “Perfectionism”, “Writer’s Block And Procrastination”; “I’m Not Creative. I Don’t Have Any Ideas”; “My Writing Isn’t Original”; “Why Write? There Are Already Too Many Books In The World”. (By the way, I highly recommend this book.)

I referenced all the above because I believe they’re all connected. We doubt ourselves because we believe all these things: I’m not creative, I‘m not as good as X; if I write Y, I will be rejected; that sentence was the worst ever; and so on.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “yes, I can relate, but where’s the encouragement?

Well, I have wonderful news for you. Doubting our own abilities is actually a fantastic thing, because it’s true. We’re not good enough. None of us are. We are all works in progress. Writing is a journey, not a destination.

As Charles Bukowski says

“Bad writers tend to have self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt.”

If you doubt your abilities as a writer, maybe, just maybe, you’re actually progressing in your writing skills.

As for fear of rejection, fear of judgement and fear of failure, I’d like to encourage you to tell God about your fears, and surrender your writing to Him. Ask the Lord if there’s anything which would be detrimental to share in your book, and ask for confidence in sharing that which He wills you to share. Ask for peace over the right content.

If perfectionism is something you struggle with, be reminded of this: ultimate perfection can not be attained by fallen humans. Trust in God to use your writing, despite its imperfections.

And finally, if you doubt your originality and creativity, I have two encouragements. One: you were made in the image of the Creator of all things, and therefore you are creative by definition. Two: there are many types of creativity; so don’t get discouraged if you’re not good at art and music. Some people excel in writing alone, and that’s OK!

Your writing pal,

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