Defeat Your Enemies: The Self-Doubt Giant

Good morning! Today we’re going to continue with our “Defeating Our Enemies” series, with a quick but hopefully helpful look at self-doubt.

Today’s is not a creative writing tip in the purest sense of the word, because we’re not discussing narrative voice, characters, plot or any actual writing processes. However, self-doubt can stop us writing good stories, so it’s still a writing tip!

Self-doubt is an enemy we all have to face from time to time. The writer-for-a-reason who mentioned self-doubt in a list of enemies he faced actually called it crippling self-doubt. Ooh, that’s a nasty beast!

Crippling self-doubt can be an ugly giant standing between us and getting our story done.

Who has not felt the mocking voice of self-doubt in our heads, telling us to give up, we’re useless, our writing is rubbish, why bother?

I’m not going to go into why we doubt our abilities. Whole books have been written on that!

However, I would like to suggest seven nice round stones you can use to sling at your self-doubt giant when he starts to laugh at you and make you quake:

1. Acknowledge the truth. You may not be brilliant right now, and that’s OK! Be at peace with your current ability, knowing that you will get better. If you’re reading this, it proves that you are doing something to improve! Keep learning, keep practising. I have no doubt that even the most amazing artists once drew pictures of people that were a couple of circles with sticks for legs and arms. No one is born with all the skills you need – you have to learn them and hone them. This is a normal process.

2. Set an immediate, small goal. This can be as simple as deciding on names for your characters, writing a paragraph to summarise your next story idea, draw a map of your island setting… anything, really – just one small step towards success. Do that one step straight away! Then do one small thing every day to move towards your goal. Self-doubt will have to move out of the way as you see yourself getting your story written. Momentum is a wonderful thing. Keep it going!

3. Write down your mission statement. This is a statement of faith – in what the Lord has given you to do. Who are you writing for? Why? Believe me, God can use you. If he can use me, he can use you. There aren’t any “super people” about, so he has to use us!

4. Stop worrying about what others think/comparing yourself with others. There will be people who mock, even kindly. Are you the next J. K. Rowling then? We’ve all been given unique gifts, and we all have a different writing journey. Looking round at what everyone else is doing and saying isn’t helpful. You are you. God made you unique! Be you.

5. Learn from past successes and failures. Didn’t manage to finish your last story? Why not? Children loved the story you wrote for them? What about it was good?

6. Stay close to God. Even when we are weak, we are strong. We have the Spirit of God dwelling in us. Pray about your writing, read his word. Let his words lead and guide you, and encourage you.

7. Surround yourself with other encouraging people/writers. Remember you are not alone in your self-doubt – it’s an enemy we all face from time to time. It’s not fussy, anyone will do – you, me, all of us! But we can defeat it. (You can request to join our Write for a Reason Facebook group here – we’d love to have you!)

So don’t let self-doubt get in your way. Collect these stones and start throwing!

Trust that helps. If it does, please would you pass it on to at least one other person who might find it useful in their writing journey? Thank you!

Janet Wilson, founder of Dernier Publishing

Have a wonderful week,


P.S. This is the link to join our Write for a Reason Facebook group for more support and encouragement.

P.P.S. Do you have a story of how you have defeated the self-doubt enemy? Got any more ideas to help others? Add them below or send them in an email!

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