Dealing with Doubt by Suzanne D. Williams

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I’ve been listening to the voices in my head, the ones that say, “Why bother? No one cares if you publish. You might as well give up.” Or, “Look at Miss Author over there, she has tons of fans who comment all the time, but yours never say anything. You’re mediocre. No one notices if you fail. You’re just not that important.”

Voices of negativity and doubt.

More than half of writing is the writer convincing themselves they know how to write. The rest is self-assurance that what they’ve written is exactly what it should be. Being a Christian writer ups the ante. Suddenly, it’s not just good enough to write something, but we must also write something moralistic.

Then, if we get past the misgivings, if we manage to shut off the voices, it seems like a reader misunderstands our intent, and suddenly everything we knew we did right, all the i’s we dotted and t’s we crossed are maybe a bit off. It could be we missed the boat, and what if he or she is correct?

Writing is full of what-ifs, and Christian writing has way more of them because there’s that standard again. Problem is, people adjust it for themselves. What’s good to one person is outside the perimeters with another. What I write, what you write, sometimes falls flat with a person who simply didn’t understand it. Or perhaps they wrote a completely fair review, but for some reason, all those doubts surface again because it could be if you’d pulled back here or pushed further there, it would have become better, more people pleasing. It could be the voices in your head are right.

I have soft places in my skin where occasionally the dart of public opinion has made its way through. I have scars in other locations that I protect lest anything hit me there again. Both feed into the doubts that never quite leave. But here’s the thing. I can use those same doubts to make me a better writer. They fuel my faith. They cause me to look harder at myself, which in the long run might be painful, but is a very good thing. They help me hold my head up high when a book wasn’t, for that one person, what they expected it to be. They push me forward.

I wish life was full of glowing five-star reviews, but if you’re a new writer, then I’m sad to say, it isn’t. For every five-star you receive, the one you’ll remember will be the three, the two, or the one. But instead of sitting down and giving up, instead of releasing the talent God’s given you, use that energy to keep writing.

So that reader didn’t like it. So you don’t have all the fan uproar other authors seem to generate. So your author ranking, yours sale numbers, don’t glow in the night. Don’t let that stop you from writing because one thing’s for sure, as soon as you do, you definitely won’t see success.

And here’s one final word from someone who’s been at the bottom. All the money and fame in the world won’t make you happy. People’s comments won’t make you happy. Good reviews are nice and fan praise is awesome. But if you can’t find that joy within yourself first, you’ll still fail.

I never imagined when I got into this business that people could be so awful to other people. But they are and I’ve learned to go back to who I was before I became a writer – a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, someone’s best friend. Who I am inside, who God has made me, is far more important than what John or Jane Doe have to say, and that girl, who loved books at age sixteen, more important to please.

We love him, because he first loved us. (1Jn 4:19)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne D. Williams

Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/ or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/scw1217.

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4 Comments

  1. AMEN!!!
    The negative voices in my head do their best to drag me down and tear away my faith. Sometimes it’s a struggle to cling to that faith, but I do and each time it seems like I can block out the negativity quicker than last time.

    Reply
  2. This was very true and so touching. It’s sad that we remember the negative the most, but i guess it’s our human nature. You’ve written a wonderful post here that I’m sure many of us can identify with, both new and not so new. Thank you for your words of encouragement we can all use. May God bless you and your writing and don’t ever stop because this one post may have helped more than you’ll ever know.

    B. J. Robinson

    Reply
  3. Thanks for sharing your heart, Suzanne. I’ve been plagued with some of the same doubts in recent days. The internet can be a very negative place and so many people use it for their own personal hate fest. You’re absolutely right. Who we are in Christ is what’s truly important and finding our joy in him and not in whether the reviews are good or bad. Our self worth is not dependent on the whim of readers, but in Christ’s love for us.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for sharing so honestly, Suzanne. I can relate. We are our worst critics.

    It helps to have a group of encouragers who rejoice with us when we rejoice–and cry with us when we cry. You are one of those encouragers, my friend.

    So… write on!
    Daphne

    Reply

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