Writing Past the Doubts

I’ve just broken through a 3-day writing slump. For three solid days I couldn’t write a cohesive sentence to save my life, which thank God, was never threatened.

37323112_sLast week I committed to a writing project that I’m very excited about. I also committed to work with a mentor to (finally!) dust off a project that stalled out a few years ago. These two writing decisions brought me a brief episode of euphoria. I re-worked my schedule to accommodate them and bellied-up to the keyboard ready for adventure.

And you know what happened?

Doubt.

Suddenly, I was hammered by it.

All the voices in my head formed a choir that serenaded me day and night. “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good. Baby you’re no good!”

And you know what I did?

I believed them. In fact, I helped them build a case against me. I remembered every rejection, tough critique and bad grade I ever received. It’s amazing how the mind works. I forget why I walked into the garage, but can recall with perfect clarity every criticism that’s come my way.

For the past 24 hours I thought of all the ways I could graciously wiggle out of my writing projects. After all, “I’m no good!”

Then, I decided to fight back. I put my pen to the pages of my prayer journal and cried out for help. I asked for renewed passion and for a little inspiration to get me over the hump.

And you know what happened?

I sat down and wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

The words flowed effortlessly and landed on the page as though they belonged there. I wrote thousands of words including a chapter, an outline and a couple of blog posts. Tomorrow I’ll finish my submission for the Inspire Forgiveness anthology.

The euphoria is back! I just needed to pray and write.

What do you do when you’re assailed by doubt?

beth_thompson brightElizabeth M Thompson hosts weekly Open Studio writing times in her home because she loves to write in a quiet house filled with other creatives creating. When she’s not reading, writing, or serving the Inspire writers, she can be found along the American River, pedaling her bike, paddling a kayak or walking hand-in-hand with her husband Mike. Elizabeth blogs about overcoming on her website and can be found on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like to connect with her. Be sure to stop by Prayers4Writers every Wednesday evening from 6pm PDT/9pm EDT on Twitter. Use #writetoinspire to join the conversation.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

12 thoughts on “Writing Past the Doubts

  1. The only antidote to those nasty voices is the word of God and prayer. I hear the same words after every rejection: You can’t write. It’s a fluke you got published. They’ll find out the truth.
    You did well, Beth, to silence them. Good job!

  2. Sooner or later I think doubt comes to even the best writers. That feeling of “am I really any good” or “what makes me think I can write” is inevitable. Plus the writer’s world is full of rejection slips and opinions about what he/she has written. One negative response can erase ten positive comments. Plus we writers tend to be hyper-critical of ourselves, anyway. Of course, prayer is the key element for recovery, but I also keep a little affirmation folder. It may sound corny but every time I receive positive feedback on something I’ve written (from someone other than my mother), I highlight the pertinent comments and put them in a folder. It’s amazing how my writer’s block changes once I turn it over to God and open my little folder.

  3. Hi Elizabeth,

    When I feel doubt, I pray over my daily “mission statement” or life purpose, which is:

    “My purpose today is to write one blog post that brings light to a dark world. I will address a specific problem, and encourage readers to turn to God for peace, healing, power, and joy. I will share how God is alive in my life…I will spread the good news!”

    This really helps me move past my doubts and insecurities, and focus on what God wants me to do today 🙂

    Blessings,
    Laurie

    • Thanks Laurie, what a great idea! It’s so easy to lose sight of our mission statement when faced with doubt. I like your prayerful approach to keeping it at the forefront.

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