Slaying the Doubt Monster

Call it stress. Name it fear. But if you shine a flashlight
into the darkest corner of your heart, I suspect you’ll find what most writers
encounter baring its fangs at you.
Doubt.
This wicked ugly creature frequently attacks writers,
especially during November. Why? NANOWRIMO…when dutiful author wannabes
everywhere are typing their little fingers to nubs and wondering if their hard
work is worth it.
There’s no better way to slay this dragon than
meeting it head on. So slap on some armor and let’s sattack the top 3 doubts most
writers struggle with.
HORRIFIC DOUBT #1:
I stink at this writing game, as evidenced by my lack of garnering a
publisher.
Maybe I should just give up.
Okay, so I’m not going to lie. Landing a contract and
getting paid cash is definitely a badge of success. But it’s not the only one.
Perhaps your writing journey isn’t about landing a mainstream publisher. What
if your writing is meant to encourage your critique partners? Is that not
valid? Maybe your writing career will spin off into a speaking career. I know
several writers who gave up writing because they found out speaking was their
true calling.
Honest truth…either God is sovereign or He isn’t. If He is,
you’ll get that contract when He says so. It’s not about your timing. It’s
about His.
What to do in the mean time? What is the silver bullet for
this particular beastie? Perseverance. Immersing yourself in a new manuscript
is a great way to beat back this doubt because you’ll be too busy thinking
about plot twists and character development to consider giving up.
INSIDIOUS DOUBT #2:
Other writers get published, but not me.
Maybe my writing is stupid.
Let’s face it. Writers are an insecure bunch. Why? Because
they pour their heart and soul into a story, revealing inner secrets that
they’d never say out loud. When that work gets rejected, it is personal.
There’s just no way around it.
But there is a stake that can be driven through the skull of
this particular doubt. It’s called sharpening your craft.
If you continue to learn and hone your writing skill, this doubt will simply turn into a lie. You can always choose to believe
the lie if you like, but you won’t have to. Your writing won’t be stupid if you
continue your education by attending workshops, going to conferences, and
reading craft books.

So, go ahead and take that on-line course. Pick up a how-to from Writer’sDigest. Attend a local writer’s group and glean some new writing tips.
LOW-BLOW DOUBT #3:
I keep writing, keep submitting, and keep getting rejected.
Maybe God wants me to be doing something
else.
In a freakish sort of way, this doubt is actually good for
you. It keeps you on your knees, seeking God’s will for how you manage the time
He’s given you.
I don’t know if God wants you to be a writer, but I do know
this…He wants you to put Him first, above writing, above anything. When you
obsess over publication, networking, or anything other than Him, it’s called
idolatry. And if that’s the case, then yes, you should be doing something else.
You should be focusing on Him.
It’s healthy to check your heart motivations now and then to
discover where your priorities lie. If this doubt rears it’s ugly head and
prods you in that direction, that’s a good thing.
It’s not, however, good to wallow in this doubt. Don’t
consort with this beastie and make him your best pal. If you can honestly say
you’re putting God first, and still the desire to write doesn’t go away, then
pull out your silver pen and drive it right into the monster’s heart.
Being honest and admitting to our doubts is the first step
in fighting against them.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas…professionally, however, for the past 10 years. Her latest release, UNDERCURRENT, is available by Risen Books. You can find her at: Writer Off the Leashwww.mmgriep.com or on TwitterFacebook, or