“I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: Overcoming Writer’s Doubt’ held by Positive Writer.”
He showed up again. I didn’t invite him, but that didn’t matter.
He never offered anything positive, but instead questioned any good ideas I had. And if I trembled starting something new, that’s when doubt would spew out tons of reasons why I SHOULD be scared.
In April, I launched my second book, BROKEN. Never had I felt such strong opposition.
My first book, Real Love was a peek into my life. The second one opened the doors to let the world in.
As I bled onto the pages, doubt made sure I heard each negative comment from his front row, center seat.
Doubt is stubborn. But, the good news is, so am I. Although I prefer to think of myself as tenacious. It sounds better, don’t you think?
I Felt Defeated
Attempting to put my life on paper, technology kept interfering. I was approaching the finish line. All that remained was pagination.
All the tutorials said pagination was easy. But technology and I are not friends. I tolerate him and he lives to torment me.
First, I elected to add the page numbers automatically. Even that gave me trouble.
It’s important to note I was trying to do this job without knowing I needed to be in Page Layout. Something I realized as I worked on my recent book. What should have taken moments took hours. Okay, days.
Ignorance is not bliss. Unaware I was using the wrong format, I continued trying to put number my pages. I demanded they comply. Eventually I added them manually, one page number at a time. Yes, I did that. And afterwards, some of the numbers declared mutiny and actually switched places. One time, sections of my book were numbered with only two numbers. 49, and 50. I thought I was going nuts.
People told me, “It’s easy. You’ll get it.” I googled, and watched You Tube tutorials of smiling people whose numbers cheerfully jumped on their pages.
I kept getting back on that kicking bull.
And yes, I’m well aware that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I believe you’ll find my picture next to that definition. Note I am NOT smiling.
Like returning a child to time-out, I marched those rebellious numbers back to their rightful spots. And when I looked away, they moved again! And if it’s possible I think I heard laughter. Do numbers laugh?
Through it all, doubt sat there grinning. I hate that grin.
“You’ll never get it,” he taunted.
“Just watch me,” I seethed.
What I learned
Eventually I got it done. And I remember being afraid to even breathe. Since that time, I’ve made some significant discoveries:
1) I have a metal mind which slams shut when I think I’m right. (My husband pointed this out to me).
2) Doubt has a good memory. In those moments when I tried standing up to doubt, he opened his memory bank, reminding me of my previous failures. He’s good at remembering the bad.
3) I can speak louder than doubt. When doubt listed my failures, I counteracted by listing some of my successes. A list I keep in mind for those occasions.
I did it
Bottom line is this. I did finish my second book. And after beating myself up a bit, I gave myself grace.
As long as I have to use technology, I will make mistakes. And I’m okay with that. I don’t have to be good at everything. I have freedom.
The point is, I outlasted doubt. And the more I do that, the shorter his stays will be.
It’s unreasonable to think he won’t show up.
As long as we have something of value to offer, doubt will be there.
If you struggle in your writing or another area, and doubt tries showing you up, arm yourself. I suggest reading Bryan Hutchinson’s book, Writer’s Doubt.
Using his own experiences, Bryan shines a light on some of Doubt’s tactics, helping us understand what we’re up against.
Remember, when we take risks, doubt will show up, uninvited and obnoxious. You can count on it. But being prepared will make all the difference.
Don’t let doubt stop you. You’ve got a story to tell, one we need to hear.