I had a great idea for a blog post, and then another, and another. Did I write them down? No. Instead I listened to the voice in my head that said they weren’t worth writing.
That voice is talking to me right now, this very minute, as I type.
Apparently I’m not alone. Even writers who have multiple books published experience doubt about their writing ability. I suppose I should find that encouraging, but somehow the idea that this often-paralyzing doubt will never be vanquished doesn’t comfort me.
At this summer’s Oregon Christian Writers Conference, several people suggested the importance of having a critique group or partner. So I now am in a critique group (none of whom write memoir) and have two individual critique partners (both of whom are writing memoirs). One of my critique partners commented in a text, “I am REALLY enjoying your writing.” In my critique group, a chapter dealing with my suicidal ideations made one member so emotional she couldn’t keep reading it out loud for the group.
Yet, I doubt anyone wants to read what I write. The voice in my head tells me I’m wasting my time telling my story for an audience of none.
It’s a lie, of course, because I have an audience of at least One. When I write to glorify God—to tell the story of how He redeemed me from a life of hopelessness and despair—even if He is the only one who knows, my time writing is not wasted.
And the real truth is that my writing has already helped others. I think of a poem I once posted called Learning to Forgive. A reader I don’t know commented, “thank you for writing this if i didn’t read this when i did i never would have been able to forgive my father for what he has done.”
Right there I made an impact. I helped another human being forgive and trust God.
Are you a writer who struggles with doubt about whether it’s worth the effort? When you write not for fame and fortune, but to glorify God and be a blessing to others, your time or effort are never wasted.
Maybe not every word will be outstanding. In fact, much of what we write is not. But if only one paragraph, one sentence, one poem makes a difference to someone, then it’s worth it.
So keep writing. Keep sharing. I’ve not walked in your shoes, but if you share with me what it’s like, then perhaps I’ll understand life from a different perspective. If I share my journey, perhaps you’ll gain compassion for someone like me in your own life.
Which is why, in the end, the article I linked to at the beginning of this post did encourage me after all, because it helped me realize I’m not alone in this big world of writers. I’m not the only one who doubts. And I won’t be the only one who forges ahead nonetheless.
I wish I could go back an undelete a lot of stuff I thought was worthless. Even now I have a lot of partial posts in my “draft” file, but I won’t delete them.
We just never know how and where God will use our writing. Keep up the good work.
I definitely need to hear this all the time. I am a huge doubter of myself, even though I am convinced I need to write. I am encouraged by friends and a few readers and that is a very hopeful. Thank you for making me feel I am not alone.
You are never alone. I’m glad I could be an encouragement to you today.
I, too, am learning to tell my story. Please don’t be afraid to share yours. Even if people do not comment, you never know who saw the poem and was inspired by it. So much happens when we are not aware of it.
Each time we tell about about painful experience we cut its power in half. We also give others to tell about theirs.