Saturday, August 14, 2010

When we have doubts

Why would writers have doubts? Just because most of our feedback comes from form letters that do little to inspire us, maybe cause us to wonder if our words are really good enough?

Perhaps because we tend to work alone with little feedback, sometimes little support from family or loved ones? I'm lucky to have tremendous support at home but I know a lot complain that isn't true for them. Maybe we feel if our words were what God
wanted us to do that he would cause them to get out more effectively? There is no shortage of such questions.

It's a recurring problem. We publish and start feeling better about things, then time goes by, more rejection letters come in, and the doubts begin to creep back in. There is an immediate round instantly after I finish a work, "What if this is the last one, what if I'm out of ideas?" Then a new idea pops into my head and I'm off again.

Satan is good at planting seeds of doubts, it's one of his specialties. Because writing is something we have to do alone, our minds are fertile grounds for it. But Satan doesn't bother to chastise anyone who isn't a threat to him, so if he isn't after us we must not be doing what we're supposed to be doing.

The best cure for doubt is fellowship with others who understand writing and writers, that's why I'm in several writers groups and share my concerns with those at church who understand. Getting to conferences such as the upcoming conference of the American Christian Fiction Writers in Indianapolis is a great fure for this.

The second thing is to understand that publishing will happen in God's time and even though we may not have the required patience (not my strong suite) His timing is always perfect.

The third is to realize when we get these little barbs from editors and agents that they don't know us well enough for it to be personal, it's just business. We're either a fit for them or we aren't.

The main thing is to keep writing, keep perfecting our craft., and keep interfacing with our support group. Then comes the biggest support mechanism of all, a letter from someone who loved our work and said it touched their life. It doesn't take many of them to make us feel good about what were doing, to offset all of the negative correspondence that is so much a part of this crazy business, and to make us feel like our words are making a difference after all.

I can run for months on just a single letter.


Teri Dawn Smith said...

Thanks for this. It was perfect timing for me. I'm about 3/4 the way through my 4th novel and alternate between thinking it's my best one yet and it's a worthless piece.

Thanks for reminding me that its the devil who brings those doubts and that he doesn't bother with anyone who isn't a threat to his purposes!

BK said...

I am amazed (and disappointed) that I let Satan work his doubts in me, given the fact that I DO have a good support group and have had nothing but positive experiences in the publishing world thus far.

Even so, the doubts are numerous. "Give up writing historicals. You know you'll never be able to do enough research or do it right." "Give it up. You know you don't have time to rub two thoughts together--no way can you write a good novel" and a million other thoughts like it.

I was at a women's retreat and the speaker referred to the verse in Genesis about Satan striking our heel and us his head.

And as the speaker phrased it, we just need to learn to "stomp on his head." 8-)

Kym McNabney said...

Great post, and words of wisdom.

Thanks for sharing.