Sunday, August 31, 2008


You got up this morning primed and ready to go. You’ve got all these fascinating words in your head to describe your hero better than any writer ever has…your fingers elatedly race over the keyboard and then it happens. They stop, for no apparent reason, they just stop. Your brow furrows. Beads of moisture cover your top lip, and you start to sweat. You tell yourself nothing is wrong--but your gut sinks with that feeling of doom. That ghostly foe of uncertainty lingers somewhere in the darken corner of your mind—O.k., bad image…we don’t have square heads so we can’t have corners in our minds…fine, your uncertainly rolls around at the back of your brain, okay? Either way you reluctantly read what you wrote.

To your horror you realize you’ve pick words that seem average, almost boring. What happened to all those inspiring words you knew would bring exquisite images to the minds of your readers? When did the words brooding, sensuously decadent and provocative become boring and average? Unexpectedly, you feel the heaviness of doubt creeping its way into your mind and you ask yourself, What part of what you thought was a modest ego exploded into an egomaniac and made you think you could write?

Self doubt is your worst enemy and will stop you from fulfilling your goal of becoming a published writer if you let it. The secret is in the knowing every writer at one time or another will feel this self doubt. Be it one morning at their computer, after a contest scores their manuscript far lower than expected or from their first experience with a critique partner. We all feel it. You’re not alone.

The secret is in how you deal with this emotion. Don’t let a temporary doubt build into something that will eventually make you give up and shove your wonderful manuscript under the bed to entertain only the dust bunnies. Know in your heart there are readers out there who are yours, and they are there just waiting for your first book to be released. Remind yourself you are a writer and you can do it. Then call a writer friend and share your doubts…you’ll be surprised how easily you snap out of your blues when you realizes she suffers with it too from time to time.

So, I call out to all of you to share your moments of doubts and let other writers know they’re not alone. Share with us what made you realize it wasn’t a lack of talent but just a moment of the moody blues.

My trick for outing that ghostly shadow of doubt…I call my twin who I know will build my sagging ego. She is my reflection, my talking mirror who tells me what I need to hear when I need it most. If you don’t have a twin, I’d highly recommend you get one. But if you can’t, then look in a mirror and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.



Vicki said...

The biggest time of self doubt for me is starting a new book. I've outlined it somewhat, but I need that first line to start. That's when I begin to doubt myself.

What do I do? I write anyway and then I have these wonderful cp's who tell me what doesn't work and tell me what they love. This gets my mind off the doubt and back to the work.

One of the best things I ever read was on a blog of a writer who has 30 - 40 books (published books) under her proverbial belt and she was starting a new book and put on her blog this. Why did I think I could be a writer. Of course she wrote the book and it's all good, but to know that published authors go through this as well, helped me.

Houston A.W. Knight said...


Thank you for sharing your secret. Interesting that your time of doubt is at the beginning. Mine is after I've finished the book and before I start the rewrite.

I agree with you about the help of a cp - when you find the right one for you ~ they can make a world of difference.

And thank you for sharing the story of the published author ... you've brought validity to my point, we all go through it.


Anne-Marie said...

Hey Hawk and Vicki. My doubt is at the beginning, middle and end. Everytime I send something to my wonderful crit partners(wink). When you get contest results back and you totally disagree with them, but I owe it to myself to put aside my fears and at least consider it. Put it on a scale and if it peaks at more than 50 lbs., I must consider it. lol

I don't care how experience you are as a writer, how many books you've pubbed, there's still a scare and self doubt factor.


Houston A.W. Knight said...

A-M, you're funny ~ 50 pounds? I'll have to remember that.

Carolyn Jean said...

Hey Hawk!
Great post. I just ignore my doubt. The answer is always, for me, just to plow forward, just as if I was doing anything - cooking dinner, gardening. Writers always write bad stuff, but then they fix it.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Carolyn - good advice - I'm going to try that.
Thanks for dropping by.

Patricia W. said...

Hawk, I'm certain my ideas are all wonderful. Destined to be best-sellers.

Then I start writing.

Somewhere around 50-100 pgs in, doubt creep up like ivy on a trellis. This story will never work. I'm not skilled enough to do it justice. Not interesting enough to be a full novel. Characters are weak. And on and on.

I know I won't get past this until I get past it by continuing to write no matter how loud the whispers get. And then submitting. And then not believing ALL the feedback or internalizing the rejections. Then, even after publication, by doing it all over again.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Patricia - I'm so glad you came back to vist.

Yes, those negative thoughts can be a mountain to climb ...but it's as you've've got to keep climbing to make it to the end of the journey...and how beautiful it is when you get there.

I think each of us would say - it was worth all the self doubts and negative thoughts once we see our babies published.

There is a book out called THE SECRET it's a wonderful book - now movie. I have the CD's and it has made a big change for me in my life. It's about the power of positive thoughts and how to draw it all to you.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Hawk,
Thank you for your insight.This information is also important to living life, no matter what your dreams are. One should never let go of their dreams... it's all we have in life. One will be suprised, at what we can do, if we keep trying.
From Las Vegas to Fla. I hold my glass up to you... Thank you for helping me.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Hawk,
The Secret is a wonderful book and it will change your life if you are into possitive thinking, and if you are not a possitive will be when you get done reading it. It will help you to understand the power of possitive thinking, and why it is important to your life.
I have found those that enjoy negative ways, do not like the book. I have a friend that is very negative and she keeps saying I just don't get it, I don't have time for such stuff...
I say what ever, I'm tired of all the negative in life...some possitive would be nice for a change and that change is what I'm after...I got checks in the mail, and for those that have read the book know what I'm talking about. It worked!
Good luck with all your doubt but remember possitive thinking really does work and remember to believe in your talents. You all have worked every hard to get where you all are...don't let it stop you...Blessed be to all

Houston A.W. Knight said...

And I hold my chalice to yours Las Vegas, for such kind and meaningful words. Life is a continual learning process and it's our dreams that help us through it all...and a super great twin sister helps.


Houston A.W. Knight said...

Blessed be to you as well Anonymous #2. I haven't read the book "The Secret" but I do have the CD's (my twin passed them on to me - thank the Gods) and I find the secret knowledge brings a very positive energy into my life.

Thank you for recognizing and acknowledging all the hard work we writers put into our dreams...and though you didn't share your dreams with me...I can tell from the way you write you also have the positive energy within you to make them come true.

Best of luck to you and your dreams.