Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

Are You A Writer? Find Out The Truth (If You Dare)

Last year I ran a contest about becoming a writer. I asked people to write their story about the moment when they knew they were a writer. The stories came in like a flood. It was amazing. The stories were motivating and inspiring.

But this year, I want you to take it one step further…


What did you do to overcome doubt before you were able to admit, that yes, you are a writer?

What are you doing in order to win the constant battle with the enemy within who tries to stop you?

You know who I am talking about.

He’s your internal naysayer, the one who is always trying to trip you up and cause you to stall. If he had his way you would quit writing and never look back. The reality is, if we are willing to admit it, sometimes he does win. Doesn’t he?

We’ve all gone through the struggle. We’ve all had to find a way to slay the beast within. And it wasn’t easy. Those battles never are, and truth be told, they never end. We’re still taking up arms every day.

That’s what real writers do.

But there are those who did not overcome the struggle, who did not endure, those who never found a way to slay the beast and instead they fell victim and gave up.

Not everyone’s story is a glorious one of triumph. Because like with all battles, there are casualties, there are those who never rise again to write again.

But that’s not you, or it doesn’t have to be.

You are a writer.

You are, and you must find ways that work to overcome the harshest critic of all, the critic within, you.

What advice would you give others who are waging their own battles?

Share your true story and let others know they are not alone.

There is great power in the telling of one’s story, it’s liberating, it’s healing, and it can serve as a beacon for others to follow.

But, how vulnerable are you willing to be?

The difference between great writers and want-to-be-great writers, is between the lines, it’s the truth, it’s what you are willing to reveal about yourself.

How far are you willing to go?

How much does writing really mean to you? 

What’s holding your back?

Is the fear and doubt too much to bear? It is, for most.

Because, if we’re being honest, it’s not actually the writing itself, it’s what we may reveal in our writing that holds most of us back.

It’s okay.

Not everyone is meant to write their story.

Not everyone is meant to be a writer.

But you are a writer!

If you’re ready to share your story, if you’re ready to be honest and stop embracing the fancy fake fluff about how great you are, and instead share the story of how great you really are, share with us the story about what you had to go through to become a writer, despite your internal naysayer and in spite of the crushing power of doubt.

Join writers everywhere who are overcoming Writer’s Doubt and share your story, too! Share it with us by entering your essay in the “Overcoming Writer’s Doubt” writing contest.

Maybe you’re still waging the battle, maybe you’re not completely ready, but then when is the battle over and when is anyone completely ready?

Again, how vulnerable, and honest, are you willing to be?

Are you ready to be a writer? Find out the truth! Only you can reveal it.

It’s easy to write fluff, but it’s quite another to dig deep within and tell the story we wish we could keep hidden, the story of dread, the story about how we doubt if we are, or ever will be, good enough, the story about how we don’t feel worthy.

The real story, dammit.

The story that matters. The story that makes you a writer, because despite the odds, in spite of your fears and overwhelming doubts:


Aren’t you?

Go ahead, dare to admit it, because that’s the first step to overcoming doubt.

It’s not easy to write such a story, much less share it, so how about beginning by telling us a little about you and your story in the comments.

Readers have been sending me their favorite quotes from “Writer’s Doubt.” Thank you! I’ve decided to use the excerpts to create posters you can download. Here’s the link to the poster for this post. Subscribe to collect them all! If there’s a short excerpt from “Writer’s Doubt” you’d like used on a poster, feel free to email it to me or share it in the comments.

Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.  —Ray Bradbury

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • It is true doubt is our enemy! Our talent may not all be the same, but our time is the same. Those who make the most of their time benefit the most from what talent they have. Fear is the big brother of doubt and steals the most of our precious time. Great writers are not the most talented but the most successful and confident investors of their time. You will never finish what you never finish – conquer doubt and fear.

    • “You’ll never finish was you never finish.” Deep! So true.

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    Hey Bryan

    Your article was almost like a war-cry! It empowered and emboldened me to remain focused on my only calling in life – using the power of my words to heal and transform peoples’ lives for the better 🙂

    I fight the beast every second of every minute of every hour of every day of my life! I have both internal AND external naysayers, so I am fighting an army that is twice as powerful.

    But I shall keep going – because I AM a writer.

    Thank you, dear #HUGSSSS


    • Yes, you are, Krithika! Keep writing, because you are a writer! The naysayers can’t and won’t stop you if you don’t let them. You have the final say about who you are. Keep writing and keep sharing your writing.

  • Jennifer Harshman

    Brian, you’re so right! This is the very thing I help clients with through my blog and coaching over at http://www.harshmanservices.com. Fear, often expressed in the form of doubt, really does keep so many writers from making any progress, even those who have already published multiple books. If I can help in any way, please just let me know. Keep up the good work, Brian. You’re making a difference in the world. 🙂

    • Thanks Jennifer, and thank you for sharing your work with us!

  • Dean K Miller

    First real whetting of the appetite: Jr. College Fiction writing. Tasting the first bite: Poetry writing next semester. Hunger for the writing game: Second Fiction writing course at Jr. College. That was over 30 years ago. Peaks and valleys until 2006. The rest you’ll have to read in the contest.

  • Thanks, Bryan. In 1996, way before I was able to say “I’m a writer” with a straight face, I pitched an article to the editor of the major newsletter for ADD adults. She accepted the pitch, and I wrote the article. I kept thinking, “This could be a book.” I finally sat down and wrote an outline, and started writing a book. I had no clue what I was doing. The newsletter editor contacted me and asked me if I would speak at their national conference in six months. I freaked out and swore I couldn’t do it. Then I emailed her back and said that I would love to speak, and that my book would be finished before the conference.

    I did finish the book, and for a first effort it wasn’t bad.

    But I still didn’t know I was a writer.

    I went to the conference, and took a good friend who was very good at being blunt. When I expressed surprise that people wanted to talk to me about my topic and my book she said, “You’re an author. You had an original idea. Most people never have one of those in their entire lives.”

    But I still didn’t know I was a writer until the volunteer helping with my talk asked me for my autograph. I think I was more nervous talking to her than she was meeting an author. But then I knew.

    • Yes, you are, Angie! Sometimes we need a little help, a nudge as it were, to help us realize the truth. I’m really impressed with your story, especially concerning ADD and not only completing your book, but bringing it with you to the conference. Kudos!! Maybe if I get the time I’ll see you at one of those conferences. Btw: What’s the title of the book?

      • Thanks, Bryan. That was almost 20 years ago and the book, which was called ADDult Recovery, is long out of print. I’ve written a lot more since, and each one gets better. My current main title is The Leonardo Trait, which is a book about and for profoundly creative people.

  • Your post is fuel in my tank! A career that has been speckled with “HAVE TO’s” instead of “WANT TO’s” and locked the true me in a closet is about to be reversed! Truly finding the joy and healing in writing has been such a gift. I met with someone recently in a counseling setting where my wife and I further delved into our story. The man, a friend, works with folks on a national basis. He encouraged us….your story must be told. Rocket fuel for me….thanks for sharing your kick in the pants to allow us all to overcome whatever may be keeping us back…

    • I’m glad my words and story mean so much to your, Bruce. Share your story! 🙂

  • I must say that this is a huge topic for me and have dealt with it for years. I have thrown out fleece after fleece and every time my Author confirms it is true, I am a writer. Now to let the insecure side of my heart reveal how I let the brave part of my heart win when I write…

    • You are a writer!

      • Thanks Bryan! I must say your posts truly encourage me to be brave. 🙂 Thank you for believing in us and empowering us to dare to believe too. 🙂

  • cjdeboer

    Hi Brain – I teach on the very same topic and believe we all need to be sharing our stories as a way to heal and connect. I believe we are who we say we are and others see what we declare in ourselves. I declared myself a writer long before I was published — believing in myself first was the most more important step. looking forward to connecting with you more on this topic.

    • Hi Claire, thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed your guest post over on Jeff’s blog the other day. You’re post connected with me, as I could tell that this topic is very close to your heart. I absolutely agree in believing in yourself. I’d love to know more about your story and what you teach!

  • A writer’s word

    I just wanted to know when is the deadline to enter the contest?
    Thank You!! And I love this idea.

  • The past two weeks have been a terrible fight with doubt. I’ve been working on some editing and the mere thought of tackling my writing is crippling. Am I a writer? What do I have of worth to share? Still battling…

  • linda m kitchens

    my first published poem appeared in the school paper at Finletter Elementary School. I was in the 5th grade at the time ..here is the poem, as I remember it..I never doubted my work.
    March brings kites, birds, and fun
    for the children love to run
    We like wind, it likes us
    so we always just let it bust. by Linda M Kitchens, 5th grade, at 10 years old ( I am 72 now and have written all of my life and continue to love to write,