Writer’s Doubt – the Epidemic and the Cure

It’s something that plagues all of us, no matter our field, no matter our dreams, no matter our security. It’s something that holds us bound to failure and limitations, to our fears and our confusion.

Doubt – a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction – when you look at it, is really a nasty word. First you have the u, a strange letter to begin with, and it’s followed by a nosy old b and a t that just couldn’t stay away. But doubt is more dangerous than it may seem at first glance. It stops you in your tracks with a mere whisper, a tiny little voice that mutters things like, “Did God really say . . .” or “You just don’t have what it takes.”

We can relate to this epidemic – all of us – because none of us is immune to a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. This is especially and painfully true when you’re a writer, and I imagine if you’re an artist or a poet or a photographer as well. The hard truth is, doubt knows our name.

I have heard of many writers – and am one myself – that have had to conquer doubt in their work. I, personally, have struggled immensely with this, with the feeling that I’m not good enough, that what I have to say in the written word isn’t good enough. These are dangerous ideas because they’re partly true. Am I a good writer? I don’t know, because I can’t judge that myself. Is my work any good? That depends in part on who reads it.

A huge hurdle for authors is just that – “Is my work good enough?” If you’re asking that question today, in any field, all I can say to you is this – one judge will say yes, another will say no.

But we writers are not here to please the crowd. Okay, maybe you like to please people, and that’s fine, but it will come back to plague you with doubt when someone turns away from your work. We are not here to please the reader, we’re here to serve the Author. And no, not author as in you or me, but author as in the Author. The One Who is writing our story, weaving the tapestry of our life. He is the One we are to write for. And hear me now, my friend – if you know who you are writing for, you will know why you are writing at all.

This goes for any lifestyle, any career, any dream. If you know who you’re doing it for, the hold of doubt can be lessened. You may be doing it for yourself, for your family, for your country, for the crowd. I write – I live – for the One Who gave me breath and Who gave me a passion to wield the written word.

But just because I know the who and the why, doesn’t mean I don’t fight a near constant battle with doubt. I do. There will likely be many more days when I am like this:

writing doubt quote

That’s doubt for you. But hey, if you need to give yourself a good kick in the behind, remember what the Bible has to say about doubt. “. . . the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”  And later in James 1 . . .  “Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

Is that not clear enough?

Don’t let doubt linger, no matter how hard it is to dispel it. Pray for strength to endure it, and don’t save that picture up there onto Pinterest. You’ll be looking at it all the time and having a pity-party. 🙂

My dear writer friend, remember this! If you know who you are writing for, you will know why you are writing at all. And that is a tactic our old buddy doubt can’t stand against.


Published by Hannah Gaudette

Hannah Gaudette is a home-school graduate living in the hills of New England. When she’s not writing or playing with the dogs, it’s a safe bet you can find her with some other animal, like goats. She is the founder of a sustainable agriculture movement called STEWARDSHIP in central Maine. She's a life-enthusiast and advocate for food allergy awareness, youth ministry, and service dogs.

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