Friday Speak Out!: When Others Have More Faith in Your Writing Than You Do

Friday, September 15, 2017
by Sheila Good

Recently, my husband asked how my novel was progressing. I tried to brush off his questions, and then he said something that left me speechless. “You’re a good writer Sheila, but I have more faith in you than you do in yourself. Sit down and write your book.”

I was stunned. His words stung with the ring of truth. Don’t get me wrong; he’d compliment my stories, but I’d never heard him so animated in my abilities as a writer. He genuinely had faith in me, and what’s more, his belief outweighed my own.

How Did This Happen?

Doubt is an ugly thing. It can suck the energy and creativity out of your soul like a vampire draining blood.

Life has thrown me a few curves and for a time writing went to the back burner. The time away from the keyboard brought the respite my body needed, but with it came waves of uncertainty and doubt.

Doubt I was good enough? Would I ever publish my novel? I’d submitted a total of two stories this year, and both declined; my insecurities grew. Was it the story, my style? Did I make stupid mistakes? Doubt grew stronger each day I spent away from my desk, and the stories in my head grew weaker until the words were but a jumbled whisper. Then my husband looked me straight in the eye and told me I was a good writer. He believed in me, and something stirred.

What Now? It was time for a little soul searching.

1. I took an inventory of the things happening in my life.
2. What prompted this overwhelming doubt? Rejections? Was it frustration with a storyline?
3. Was I using my time wisely or escaping into the time warp of the Internet, social media.
4. Had I let my mentors drift into the past?
5. Had I stopped learning? Lost interest?
6. Afraid to write the story in my heart?
7. Was I hung up on perfection? Or tired? Did I want to move on to something else?

It’s easy to become overwhelmed, indecisive, and paralyzed. All writers at one time or another have doubted their abilities. The blank page of writer’s block happens to everyone. Writers have plastered their walls with rejection letters. I wasn’t alone, and perfection was a myth. So, I came up with a game plan.

5 Suggestions for Overcoming Doubt and Return to Writing

1. For five minutes every day set a timer and write freestyle. No editing; just write.
2. Reconnect with mentors. Feedback, even when it’s a bit bitter tasting, inspires.
3. Limit exposure to social media.
4. Stop obsessing over the perfect first chapter or opening line. Write the story. Revisions can wait.
5. Write what’s in your heart, not the story others want you to write.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway - Click to Tweet

Time to do a little bit of bleeding.

* * *
Sheila Good, a nurse turned writer, is the author of the short story collection, Maybe Next Time, Stories of Murder, Justice, and Revenge. Her work has been published in Blasting News, Angie’s Diary, Every Writer’s Resource, Every Day Fiction, WOW – The Muffin, featured on No Extra Words Podcast, Dream, Write, Thrive, and Centum Press 100 Voices Anthology, VOL. III. She resides with her husband in South Carolina where she is working on her first novel. To find out more, visit her website, Cow Pasture Chronicles.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Linda said...

I can SO relate, even to having my husband encourage me when my self-doubt stops me cold.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Wonderful post, Sheila! I'm a perfectionist, which I've come to find out is a mental problem (lol), so I can totally relate. We all need a cheerleader in our corner! It's great your hubby encourages your writing. I have to bribe mine to let me read him something; but I do have a great writing group, and we encourage and push each other's writing. I love tip #5: Write what's in your heart, not the story others want you to write. (YES! That's what it's all about.)

Sheila Good said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Linda. It is a big boost to hear my husband's words of affirmation. thank you for reading.

Sheila Good said...

Perfectionism - a mental problem? Well, that explains a lot. LOL. So glad you enjoyed my post. I used to belong to a writing group, but then life seems to get in the way of the meetings. I do miss the feedback and hope to be back in one very soon. And, to be honest, there are times I have to bribe my husband, too. Thanks for reading.

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