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Doubt – The Writer’s Killer

I was writing. A lot. Too much perhaps. Drowning in an endless sea of fictional stories and characters all crying to see the light of day. Sometimes I was writing for myself. Other times I wrote for my future fans (I can dream). Occasionally I wrote because that’s what I do. There were days when I wrote only a few words and days when I scribbled notes and days when it was entire sections of story. Yet in each of these instances, there was that little sense of discontent that lingered in the dark recesses of my writing. Stalking every thought process. Every idea. Every word.

It didn’t stop me from writing. No. It merely created a sense of doubt to my writing. As though something was wrong with my strong female protagonist, or not enough depth to my wandering male character. The world I built wasn’t rich enough. The plot – not enough sustenance. How my previous works were written by a distinct version of me, in a different mental and emotional state. A literary genius with a fantastic grasp on what he was creating or a bumbling fool trying to sprint through oceans in baggy clothing.

Dissatisfaction rearing its ugly head, telling me “Your writing will never be good enough.” or “Stop this madness, you’re just another sub par writer.” Quit-since-your’re-behind kind of thought process. It can really be crippling.

It would be easier to lower your standards. To pass it off as a hobby for fun and nothing too serious. To give up.

But that is a mistake.

Writing is my passion above all other things. One thing I can claim as my own. That I embrace. To not write would be to die. Not because I have spent so much time and effort and energy into writing and to give up now is foolish. Rather because if I did not write, where would all these stories in my head go. How would I be able to express the feelings that rattle through my bones? To live vicariously through created characters and have the ability to alter their destiny with a couple of letters put together to make logical sense.

Doubt, like hope, can be fickle but powerful. I once wrote this beautiful, meaningful story that resonated with me on so many levels. Doubt snuck in once and I deleted it. I regret it so much, there’s not a time that doesn’t pass when I don’t think about that story. All that potential. Gone. What a waste.

I also, currently, have a story that is brimming with life and potential. I have random bursts of inspiration that mold this story into a masterpiece. Hope spurring it forward to completion because I think it’s a great piece of writing. If only I could have the time and energy and effort to sit through the whole thing and complete it and raise it above the masses like Moses splitting the red sea. Okay maybe that’s pushing it, but that’s what hope does.

I won’t sit here and tell you it’s easy to push doubt away. Or that you can simply manufacture hope on the spur of the moment. It takes sitting down and putting in the effort. To write. To take a break. To enjoy the process and hate it. To take long walks or lie in bed soaking up music or watching your favourite series. To work through your story and write even when it feels like it’s not doing anything.

I know the doubt will pass. I know hope will not be enough. What will remain, however, is every word I have written. So I will continue to write.

How do you deal with doubt in your writing? What has been the most crippling moment in your writing? Have you ever deleted a story and do you regret it?


Writer’s Inadequacy


Writer’s block is one thing. The feeling of blanking out, that you can’t  start writing even when you have ideas – the daunting blank page of doom. Writer’s inadequacy however, is subtly different. It can be perceived as writer’s block, except the ideas are there but it’s not that you can’t write – you feel as though the idea, or you as a writer, aren’t good enough.

Drafts Drafts Drafts

I don’t know about you, but I have hundreds of drafts. Great ideas I think have excellent potential. The problem? I don’t think I’m the right writer to help them reach their potential. Of all my drafts, I may have maybe five ideas I think I’ve started to write really well, but I don’t think I can keep that standard going for a whole novel. So I start another idea and hope it will be my salvation. Over and over again. It’s depressing.

Striking Out

It’s not at all like wanting to be a professional dancer, sports star or *insert profession here* but you’re just not that good at it to become professional. Not in my case anyway.  Rather like a batter who has practiced often, knows they can hit the ball out the park, but keep striking out and begin to doubt they will ever hit another ball that well again. They watch everyone else step up to the plate and seemingly succeed with every swing. And that’s depressing.

Keep Practicing

You don’t know how often I’ve come close to quitting. Only you can’t get better if you stop right – also, my brain refuses to stop coming up with ideas, and reading definitely doesn’t help. If you’re a writer at any level or capacity, you’ll understand the frustration of not writing. Of letting those ideas, great or not, fizzle away into the black holes of forgotten memories. You don’t want that. So I keep writing. Keep drafting, editing, revising, reworking, until eventually getting something out of. And that’s encouraging.

You Are Not Alone

You just need to type in “Writers…” and Google will open up a world of aspiring writers like yourself all working towards this daunting task of completing their writing. Some have gone along far enough to submit their completed works. Others have been published. We know its not impossible and that’s encouraging.

The Struggle

It doesn’t make the struggle any less difficult. I could force myself to write and complete something and completely hate it in the process – I think that’s worse than not completing the work. I want to be proud of what I’ve written. I want to enjoy writing it from beginning to end, like I’m hitting the ball well with every swing, and getting home runs every once in a while.

So right now I’m feeling completely inadequate at being able to write an amazing story. Anyone can write a story. Anyone can spin a tale. The goal I’m trying to achieve is to write a brilliant tale that is above good. I want it to be excellent. It’s not easy. My confidence is low. My brain buzzes with excitement from all the potential but the execution leaves me feeling dissatisfied that I can’t live up to it. I guess that’s just part of being a writer.

I’ll just have to keep writing.



How do you get your confidence high when you’re struggling with your writing? I would love to know.


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