Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Working out Self Doubt

Any of you out there that not suffered self-doubt? No. We all have suffered from it. The writers who read this will be nodding and saying, 'Oh yes, I sometime think my writing is the worst.'

And for me, Barbara Phinney, I'm waiting on an answer for a proposal, fresh from realizing that sometimes, I get what kind of books Love Inspired wants to publish, and sometimes, I don't. I bounce back and forth between getting it and offering proposals that are better served lining the bottom of the bird cage.

Self doubt assails me so often. And being a female, (because this is more prevalent in females) I wonder if that person I spoke to hates me, or that 'please call back' message left on the answering machine is bad news.

I struggle, but if you were to meet me, and I hope we do meet someday, I will portray fun confidence and down to earth warmth. 

But like Meryl Streep's character in Doubt, we have such doubts, all of us. 

And as most of us do, I turn to God to help me. But as much as my brain knows that all of the prophets were assailed with doubts and pains often of their own making, I have trouble truly relating to them. They were men from a different time, after all. But their faith was always so strong, it seems to me.

Still I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone. So true that adage, "Misery loves company."

I also continue to remind myself how fortunate I am.  How God so often comes along side me, especially on those dark and tiring mornings when I need to drag my sorry carcass outside to work! God gives me the strength. And if he gives me strength there, he must know what he's doing with my writing!

So during the sufferings I feel when I think I will be rejected yet again, or when my favorite book sells poorly, or when I read how well others are doing with their writing careers, I must think of that great verse from Romans.

"...rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, Hope. And Hope does not disappoint us..." (Rom.5:3-5 NIV) 

Do you have self doubts? What are they? What are your coping skills? Is there a Bible verse that helps you?

And if you don't, bless you, and take heart that you are not alone. Not at all.


  1. I always feel the "I can't write... who am I trying to fool" during the critique stage. I usually get the "Hmmm, maybe I have a tiny bit of talent..." during the revision stage. I've only had a "Hey, I really figured this out, totally..." stage once. Yup, 22 books and I nailed it once.

  2. Doubt is a constant presence. I have to remind myself that it's one of the Enemy's tools. I also turn to our own Debby Giusti's Writer's Prayer when those doubts threaten to shut down the creative flow. Thank you, Debby!

  3. I need The Writer's Prayer, too, Christine. You know it wasn't my prayer...the Lord inspired me because he knew I needed him to be in control of my writing.

    Yes, I'm often filled with doubt! That negative voice, as Julia Cameron mentions in THE ARTIST'S WAY, often whispers in my ear...never in a good way. The negative voice is always, well, negative.

    I'm working on being thankful and having gratitude this year. Prayer, thankfulness and gratitude seem to be a great combination for 2013.

  4. "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what he has promised." Heb 10:35-36

    On a post-it not on the book shelf at my desk so I see it every day, especially when I sit back from my computer in frustration. :)

  5. Hi Barbara:

    Do you really think women suffer more from self-doubt or do you think they are more honest in admitting it? It is not okay for men to admit self doubt. It sure is not good for leaders.

    The problem with our self-doubt is our POV. We see everything wrong with ourselves from the inside. We see very little about others and that only from the outside. This gives us a distorted view of our own self-doubt. If you could only see inside others, you might find that you are one of the most competetent people you know! Just think about that. In a way, this is why positive thinking works so well so often for so many people.


  6. Thank you all! Christine, I have Debby's great prayer right beside my computer. It's wonderful.
    So, Debby, thank you! Sandra, another fantastic verse.
    Danica, that's cool that you needed to hear this. It's wonderful how God works for all of us.
    Vince, you pose an interesting question. I think that I say that because a) I am a female, and b) teen girls are often assailed with it more.
    Regardless, I'm glad you point out that it happens to all of us.
    Thank you all!


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