What to do with doubt?

I'm having one of those times where all my fears about writing surround me.

Is my story substantial enough? Is it interesting enough? Why does my writing feel not quite right to me or stilted at times? Why is it that when I go back to fix it it sometimes makes it worse?  Should I be writing with first person or third person narrator?  Should I write from one persons POV or several? Is this story any good or should I switch over to that second idea I've been thinking about and abandon the first?

These are the plaguing doubts that assailed me in first attempt at writing a novel so many years ago, the doubts that tore me down and eventually caused me to quit.  I decided that if I wasn't already a great writer I never would be, so I quit trying to be.

And now these little devils of doubts are back and I'm not sure how to deal with them.  Should I stop and listen to what they have to say? Or should I take a broom and shoo them out the door? I don't have anyone in my life who is on the same wavelength to discuss these foibles with and so they sit and stew inside of me.

I'm pretty sure I could find some writing community where I could meet some people to discuss with, but I'm not quite ready to go there yet.  I don't want my energies to go into talking about writing, I just want to write.

I'm also afraid to let someone read what I've written yet.  Is this normal?  Or is it a sign that what I've written isn't very good and I'm afraid to hear the truth?

My only answer is to tune out my fears, childishly throwing my hands over my ears and just keep writing.  It may not be that my writing is spectacular, but at least I will not fall into the trap of quitting when I am afraid.  I will keep trying, keep working towards spectacular if I can.

So off to the coffee shop I go with my laptop to try for another 500 words.


  1. Keep writing. You must. There is a reason for drafts. Just write, and write and write. There will be flaws, but you will address those in the next draft. If the super cool situation doesn't really work quite right where you have it, it will find it's way into another with ease, and be ever so much better for it. Keep going. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.
    ~ Debbi

  2. Follow your heart. Fear and insecurity are only normal. I like the expression "failing forward". Don't be afraid of making "mistakes" you need those to grow!

  3. Thanks so much for the encouraging words! I'm trying to follow suit and write, write, write, not being afraid of "failing forward".

  4. That's it--onward! I have been bad about talking too much about writing rather than actually writing, and I understand your fears about showing others your work. I think that's something every writer feels at various times.