Doubts: Yours and Mine

Yesterday I was working my way through some blog posts I needed to catch up on, and I ran across an intriguing invitation at PositiveWriter.com. It was a writing contest called “Overcoming Writer’s Doubt” and it challenged writers to open up about a moment when they overcame doubt.

But as I filed through my memory bank I struggled to find a story in the past as compelling as the one I’m experiencing in the present.

So, instead of telling you how once-upon-a-time I pushed through my doubts, I’m going reveal the doubts I have today and see if my struggle resonates with yours.

But I am not content to just kvetch. I want to invite you to partner with me in fearlessly pushing through our season of doubt together. You up for it?? If so, here we go…

This past spring I finally completed Easter is Coming, a writing project that was two years in the making. And by “completed” I mean I summoned the courage to release it to the world, regardless of whether I thought it was truly finished or not. It was a big step, and I’m proud of my work and the accomplishment of publishing it.

And here’s the kicker: I got some very positive feedback on that book. Some of the folks who read it offered glowing reviews, excitedly praised my writing, and even expressed thankfulness for it. One reviewer promised to buy the next book I write. (If that isn’t motivation to write another book, I don’t know what is!)

Yet here I sit, frozen by what author and blogger Bryan Hutchison calls “writer’s doubt.”

As I look forward to my next project, my mind and heart are filled with just as many doubts as bright new ideas. And right now, the doubts are eating the bright new ideas for lunch.

Frozen.

Ironically, part of what paralyzes me is the positive response I garnered from my first book. While the response should motivate me to press on, I catch myself thinking I won’t live up to expectations I’ve created. Like a Rookie of the Year winner who inevitably falls into a sophomore slump, I doubt my second project will be as successful as the first.

What about you? Have you been here? Has the success of a project soured into doubt instead of turning into motivation? I’m sure you have and I’m sure it has.

But maybe for you it’s not writing. Maybe it’s a business, a relationship, education, or parenting. Maybe it’s your faith, your family, or your future. Regardless, you’re as stuck as I am, and your doubts are winning the day.

Well friends, I’m offering the remainder of this blog as an attempt to inspire both of us.

I’m a writer. It’s in me. I want to, and I need to, write. So the way I’m going to unfreeze this bout of writer’s doubt is to write. I know. It’s a novel idea, right? (Pun intended.) But seriously. I’m going to do the thing I’m so doubtful about doing.

Easter is Coming was a fun, fulfilling, and well received accomplishment. But instead of letting the positive feedback pour gas on my fire of doubt, I’m going to turn it into fuel for my creative machine. I will thankfully use that completed project as a springboard for the projects to come.

And here’s how I’m going to do it.

I commit to releasing a follow up project this fall called Christmas is Coming – a project that will be similar enough to its predecessor that I can confidently build on what I do well, but different enough to be its own project and accomplishment.

And I commit to writing 2000 words of new material (four 500-word sessions) a week to help hone my craft and to build on the projects I have in mind.

Finally, I commit to using these two commitments as the ax and saw that will cut down this growing writer’s doubt and turn it into the raw materials for building my next book (and the one after that, and the one after that). Writer’s doubt be warned and next book be ready, ‘cause I’m comin’ for ya.

How about you? What do you need to do, and how are you going to do it?

What two commitments are you going to use to chop down your doubt and build what you are called to build?

Leave them in the comments below and let’s do them together.

Onward!

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7 thoughts on “Doubts: Yours and Mine

  1. Chris Greer says:

    Thanks for reading, Marianne! I’ll check out the “Postmartum Blues” post. Sounds interesting!

  2. Enjoyed reading your entry for the Writer’s Doubt contest! I have submitted an entry on doubt too, but my first blog post in January was called “Postpartum Blues” which dealt with that phenomena of what happens after we make art, or release a new book, or song. Really related to that part of your sharing! Thanks! Here’s my contest entry: http://mariannekesler.com/news/the_doubt_cycle/

  3. Brittany says:

    Chris I needed to read this today! I’m sitting down to decide what my two goals are to accomplish my bigger goal! Thanks my friend!

  4. Read your essay. Like, brother. Submitting mine tonight!

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