Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This is Doubt calling. Can you hear me now?

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." -- FDR

Does Doubt constantly beg for your attention? Sometimes I allow it to clutter my mind, like the pesky Verizon guy asking, "Can you hear me now?"

In my experience, doubt can fester, rotting our limited confidence. We allow doubt to win when we:

dream but don't try
write but don't finish
finish but don't submit
receive rejections and give up
compare ourselves to others and find we're lacking
achieve milestones but don't celebrate their worth
place unnecessary pressure on ourselves
lose the joy of writing

Writers from all stages of the profession admit to doubting themselves, so we're in good company. And the lovely Tahereh wrote an inspirational post On Feeling Inadequate.

Doubt is normal, and hopefully temporary. When Doubt comes calling, I think we should drop his call in a hurry. What about you?

In writing this post, I found great quotes about about the subject. If you're struggling with doubt, I hope this sampling helps.

"If doubt is challenging you and you do not act, doubts will grow. Challenge the doubts with action and you will grow. Doubt and action are incompatible." -- John Kanary

"Persevere and don't let any self-doubt distract you." -- Catherine Pulsifer

"Nobody becomes great without self-doubt. But you can't let it consume you." -- John McKay

63 comments:

  1. Great post! I can feel doubt sneaking in sometimes. I remember Ray Bradbury's quote, "You only fail if you stop writing..."

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  2. Great post Julie - very inspiring:)

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  3. Doubt is such a loser -- I say block his calls! ;) It frustrates me when writers don't finish or share their work. If you don't carry on, you'll never know what you could have achieved.

    Nice post, Julie.

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  4. Doubt is part of the process--of writing and living in general. For writers, it's definitely, JUST KEEP WRITING. On days when the words don't flow, still write something. As with everything, some days are better than others.

    Excellent quotes. All true.

    Good post, Julie. Thanks!
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

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  5. Love this post Julie. I read an article by Mem Fox yesterday and was happy to see that she has doubts too! So you sure are right about writers of ALL stages!

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  6. Oooh I have a good one too! from Eleanor Roosevelt:
    "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

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  7. Yes, drop the doubt! W I am glad I am not the only one who experiences it.

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  8. Doubt never left, but I keep kicking him to the corner.

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  9. Doubt is hanging out at my house this week. And he is big--HUGE. Come get him!!

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  10. That last one really speaks to what I'm going through right now. Thanks, Julie.
    Karen

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  11. Julie your list reads like a poem. I'm guilty of all of them except the last. I haven't lost my joy to write. Thank for this post. It's nice to know we all experience doubts but we must plow through it.

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  12. Wonderfully inspirational post! Love those quotes at the end, too. Go away, Doubt!

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  13. Thanks, Julie. Love this post!

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  14. Thank you. I should print out those quotes and hang them on my mirror.

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  15. Thanks for this inspirational post. Writers definitely struggle a lot with self doubt, so it always helps to have someone who understands boost us up!

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  16. Doubt can be a great self-checking system, especially when it's time to revise. If you have doubts about your writing then I think some part of you is also calling out for improvement, whether it be a particular draft or one's overall writing style, etc. The trick is the harness it in a way that motivates you to do better :)

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  17. Thank you for the beautiful, inspiring quotes. How do you always know what I need to hear?! *hugs*

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  18. Love the quotes. Doubt is definitely something I wrestle with on a rather regular basis.

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  19. Inspiring post Julie as I'm heading off for some writing time, thanks! I am guilty of answering doubt's call more often than I should. Thanks for the reminder that we are not alone and to keep writing!

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  20. That's right! Our heroes are the ones who persevere despite the conflict and conquer. How are we any different?

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  21. Oh, I know all about doubt... unfortunately. Thanks for this lovely post. Made me feel like I'm in good company. :)

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  22. This was great for me to read today, Julie. My doubts were piling up. :)

    Amy

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  23. "achieve milestones but don't celebrate their worth"

    Wow, I needed that one today! Thanks. :)

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  24. Great post! I love the John Kanary quote that if you don't act, doubt will grow...so true.

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  25. I admit I am a doubter. I used to admire my fellow designers who were always so confident about their creations. I always need the external validation. I blame my parents. Then again...I feel very protective of my characters in writing and will defend them to the death.

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  26. Awesome post! Doubt is evil and we all experience it sometimes.

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  27. It never hurts to hear more encouragement. Our writing community just understands it; gets it. I love that. Thank you for this.

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  28. It is apart of writing... at least for me it is.

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  29. Great post!! Doubt is always calling -- I'll start working on hanging up! :)

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  30. I definitely go through periods of doubt, looking at all the work still ahead of me and wondering if I'll ever meet my goals. But I guess that's all part of it. I gotta learn to squash that doubt right away and keep moving forward...

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  31. Really great post, Julie. My doubt ebbs and flows and this is a great reminder to let it go! It's nice to know I'm not the only one dealing with it. ;)

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  32. Great post Julie! I think I let so much doubt comsume me last year, that I haven't much left this year. Feeling like Spring every day no matter what happens. I think surrounding yourself with positive and lovely people (on- and off-line)helps :)

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  33. Great quotes!

    Thanks for the motivating post. :D

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  34. Absolutely inspirational!
    Thanks for sharing, Julie. It's great! :)

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  35. I'm a terrible self-doubter so it's always good to be picked up and turned around :)

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  36. Hi Julie .. it is just do - keep going .. doubt just holds us back .. move forward .. time won't wait. We all need reminding .. Thanks - Hilary

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  37. Great post. Doubt sometimes crawls into my little world, but awesome posts like this chases it away. <3

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  38. I try my hardest to ignore the creep. It affects me the most when giving up to quickly after rejections!

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  39. Great post and so right. Self-doubt is a constant companion and I really need to kick her to the curb. (Yes, I spend so much time with self-doubt, she has her own persona.)

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  40. Great post, Julie. I really loved the quotes and your list. Doubt is part of life but can be crippling if you don't take action. It can slowly suck away your energy. Thank you for the wake-up call. :-)

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  41. Great post, Julie! I think doubt wants to be my next door neighbor. It just needs to find somewhere else to live.

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  42. Great post & I love the quotes.

    I think self-doubt when kept in check keeps us humble and down-to-earth. It certainly has its purpose.

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  43. I have doubts all the time, but I don't let them stop me. I think of them as something to expect and deal with--kind of like menstrual cramps (ewww, did I just write that? Sorry :))

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  44. Great post! I go through periods of doubt in my writing...but they always rebound in belief.

    I think that sometimes we are waiting for "the big break" all at once, and that can be discouraging when it doesn't come when we hoped it would. (I've been there) Now I try to celebrate the small victories along the way...completing a difficult chapter, getting a request for a partial, finishing a synopsis...etc. When I do this, it seems to chase the doubt away.

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  45. Oooh, you know how much I loves some good quotes!

    I see one that I need to post on the computer with.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

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  46. Oh gosh, I always have these two:
    compare ourselves to others and find we're lacking
    achieve milestones but don't celebrate their worth
    But thx for remind me to kick MR. Doubt out of my house! LOL

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  47. Hi! Ron Carlson spoke about doubt in his speech at the Muse & The Marketplace conference . . . of course I can't remember the exact quote but it was something about doubt being part of the writing process for every writer at every level and it's when you have no doubt that you're possibly not stretching enough, taking enough risk, etc. Shoot--I wish I had the exact words!

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  48. I adore a good quote or two Julie. Thank you for sharing this doubt post. It is encouraging as we certainly all face it from time to time.

    Denise<3

    Romantic Friday Writers Second Challenge - LOST - Friday 20

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  49. Thanks so much for this reminder... it was very inspirational and encouraging... you're right.. we only fail when we let doubt get the best of us.

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  50. I need this!!!!! Great quotes, thanks for posting them.

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  51. ahh... well-timed post, my friend. I esp. loved the note about not celebrating milestones when they occur. Guilty! :D

    This is such a difficult, painful process. It's wonderful to have encouragement like this from people like you. Thanks! :o)

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  52. I don't really let myself doubt most of the time - I figure, what's the point?!? It's not gonna get me anywhere :D

    Still, I do have my moments!

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  53. Thanks, Julie. Those quotes and this post were just what I needed :)

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  54. Hi Julie,

    Great post. I really loved the quotes and your list. Thanks for the motivational post.

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  55. Great quotes, Julie. Here is one of my faves.

    Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear. --Mark Twain

    And to master the fear, or give it resistance is to do the thing we fear. Sometimes a very hard thing to do indeed.

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  56. When doubt plays mind games with me I remind myself that every writer goes through it and that I can beat it.

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  57. I may doubt a lot of thing including myself at times, but I never seem to doubt my writing abilities. I love to write regardless of the mood I'm in.

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  58. We all feel it and we all keep going :)

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  59. I go through heavy periods of doubt and insecurities regarding my story, characters and plot.Then, I psyche myself to continue writing.

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  60. Excellent Post, Julie. This hit home for me, "Compare ourselves to others and find we're lacking".

    I try to turn that sort of doubt into inspiration.

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  61. Doubt often follows me into my office and wants to hang out all day. I make him sit in the corner and I try (try!) to ignore him.
    Love the quotes! Thank you for this. : )

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  62. Some days it's blogs like these that get me thru... thank you xx

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