by Lindsay Harrel, @LindsayHarrel
Newsflash: Today, I am writing this post for myself.
My next book, The Heart Between Us, releases March 13. Reviews from advanced copies are starting to roll in. In my head, I know that every book is bound to get both positive and negative reviews.
I know that.
My eyes automatically fly to the negative ones, ignoring the positive ones or brushing them off for one reason or another. My heart sinks. Discouragement takes over. It begins to cripple me as I try to write the next book.
As authors, we will all face self-doubt at some point. Many of us will battle it our entire careers. For those trying to share an important message of any kind, self-doubt can severely limit our effectiveness.
And that is exactly where Satan wants us to be.
But guess what? You have a choice.
Let me say it again: YOU have a choice.
Here are some strategies we can employ to fight self-doubt (and yep, I need to take my own advice):
- Consider whether to read reviews. You guys, I am struggling with this one. I tend to be sensitive by nature, and even though authors are supposed to have “thick skin,” I think it’s always going to hurt a little when someone says nasty or negative things about something you’ve spent lots of time and energy on—and put your heart into. Some authors say the solution is to only read the positive reviews, but that could give you an inflated view of your books and how they’re being received (or it would for me, anyway). I’ve heard others say they only read reviews that people send to them, and I think this is a good middle ground.
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- Stop the comparison game. We’ve all done it. While we’re writing our hearts out, we spend an evening reading another author in our genre (which is what we’re supposed to do, right?)—and we realize our work will never measure up to this other author’s brilliance. Ugh. But guess what? You are the only one who can write the story you’re writing. You are the only one who can tell it like it’s meant to be told. This planet is full of people who need truth. Write yours. Let others write theirs. The world will be better for it.
- Remember your “why.” I have to focus on this one A LOT. Why am I writing? I’ve always been an overachiever, someone focused on success. I was this way in high school, in college, and now in my career as an author. It’s my nature to want to be the best. But guess what? All of that success stuff is out of my hands, and at the end of the day, while accolades are nice, they are dust in the wind. The only things that are eternal are people and God—so I want those to be my focus as I write.
- Exchange lies for the truth. It’s not enough to tell yourself that something isn’t true. You also have to tell yourself what IS true. The first step is obviously recognizing the lie (e.g., you aren’t good enough). The next one is to replace it with God’s truth about you (e.g., you are not defined by what you do, but by whose you are; God has called you, and he equips those he calls; etc.).
- The biggest weapon we have against self-doubt is prayer. For years, I have questioned what prayer really does, but I just started The Armor of God Bible study by Priscilla Shirer and whew—am I learning. In the very first video, Shirer tells us that prayer is what activates the armor of God. It was like thunder went off. Mind. Blown.We have all manner of weaponry at our disposal as believers—and as authors. Let’s use it to fight back against the lies of the one who wants nothing more than to destroy us and make us ineffective for what we’ve been called to do.
Remember, when those negative feelings of doubt come, you have a choice. Don’t sit idly by! Be proactive, make a plan, and call on God to fight self-doubt for you.
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(Releases March 13, 2018) Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.
When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.
As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.
Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years, and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. Her debut novel, One More Song to Sing, released in December 2016 and was a finalist in the 2017 ACFW Carol Awards. Her second book, The Heart Between Us, releases from Thomas Nelson in March 2018. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com or onFacebook, Twitter, or Instagram.