Sunday, March 09, 2008


Over the years, it has been my pleasure to meet and work with many outstanding writers. These are some of the best in their writing genres. Yet, almost without exception, they are, from time to time, wracked with intense feelings of insecurity as to the worth of their writing, doubting their ability to put together even one more intelligible sentence.

I'm talking excellent, intelligent, creative writers of multiple novels.

While I can't pretend to rise to the level of their sterling prose, some folks think I'm capable of stringing a few good paragraphs together once in a while. But there come times when I think I don't have another thing to say, no story to tell, no ability to sway or entertain or uplift. I too doubt my ability to write. These bouts of self-questioning can be debilitating, depressing any desire to write, and often leading to a sense of self-loathing for presuming to aspire to authorhood.

Fortunately, I'm not currently in such a slump. I was just looking back on some of the bleak times that I've gone through in the past, remembering other writers who actually swore off writing when in the throes of such doldrums.

Where do these awful, dreadful, terrible periods come from?

Possibly writers, like many other creative people, are slightly manic depressive, what we now call bi-polar, or given to other forms of depression due to chemical imbalances. This gives one explanation. Another might be that powerful writers have the ability to thwart the work of darkness, provided they have a light that leads them towards truth and beauty.

I know there is a force for evil abroad on this earth, just as I know there is a power for good. I call them, respectively, Satan and God. I believe Satan wants us to fail in our endeavors to do good. Therefore, I believe Satan is behind much of our self-doubt, our despair, our discouragement.

So, how do we writers get rid of the despair?

Barring chemical imbalances that cause clinical depression (been there, done that), I think filling our wells with goodness and uplifting influences is exceedingly important in such times of trial. Singing or listening to happy songs, classical music, joyful sounds, can help. Reading good literature and the Word of God has its powerful place. Prayer and meditation are good for the soul. Sharing our feelings with trusted friends can bring blessed surcease to the pain.

Now it's your turn. What remedies for self-doubt work for you?


  1. All the above work for me, Marsha. All I can add is a walk in the country, or along a beach. Both these things clear my head and boost my spirit.

  2. For me, it is understanding why I write. My own answer to that might change from day to dya, i.e. Today, I'm wiritng in hopes of bringing someone closer to the Lord. The next day I might be writing simply for the entertainment value of putting thoughts on paper, (or electronic file). The day after it might be something else. Looking back, I see value in all of that.

    I try not to get hung up on the rejection letters, since adversity is a part of life. When I understand why I am writing, those doubts and fears that we all face, tend to diminish or go away.

    By the way, I'm on chapter 14 and thoroughly enjoying what you sent me.


I welcome your comments.

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