Positive Writer

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How to Overcome Writer’s Doubt (3rd Place)

Today I begin presenting the winners of the “Writer’s Doubt” contest with 3rd place, “How to Overcome Writer’s Doubt” by Chelsea. This is a great essay, and it’s very inspiring for anyone dealing with doubts about their creativity and writing. Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest. Over the following few days I will be posting all of the winning entries. Stay tuned, and help me congratulate Chelsea in the comments!

Read Chelsea’s essay below the picture…

Writer in Doubt

How do you overcome Writer’s Doubt?

You Start. Stop procrastinating. Shut your mouth, sit down and write. (Click to Tweet)

Stop Googling everyone who is already doing something. Don’t read any more how-to writing books. No more stalking your competition.

Just Write.

Since six years old I knew I was a writer. Filling up blank pages and writing fiction stories in that old pink little journal. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I was told I wasn’t good enough. I was told that I didn’t have what it took.

How was I told?

By those red script marks on each of my papers as they were criticized and critiqued. I was corrected in sentence structure and description. I was told “nice try” and told to move on.

The red marks were not only written on my paper. They were written on my heart.

What I really wanted to be ended up being thrown under the rug. I was embarrassed I didn’t have what it took to be a writer. I mean, that’s what all those red marks were all about, right?

So the secret stayed within myself. I loved writing.

I’ve had journals since nine years old, hiding my secret instead of speaking them aloud. I dreamt of becoming an author. Day-dreamed of writing for magazines and publishers across the country.

Then I grew up.

With every job I participated in, I was always finding ways to incorporate my writing. But they were never welcomed ideas. Yet again, my words were pushed aside and that red marker made permanent marks on my heart.

I threw the dream away. I finally believed that those red marks, marked the truth about me.

I had no potential with words. Everyone else was better. Everyone else read everyone else. No one was interested in what I had to say. I was worthless. Useless. and the big one; not good enough.

Until recently. The dream came awake from hiding deep in my soul.

I closed my eyes and let the day-dreaming begin. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I welcome the feelings of excitement and inspiration flood over me in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, this dream was really part of who I was made to be.

I sat up from my bed and took in a deep breath. I was bracing myself for the slap in the face I knew was coming. I was sure this was just a fantasy suffocating me from the responsible adult world that I needed to participate in.

To my surprise, healing words washed over me. I was listening to an interview of my favorite author and she gave us the advice her professor in college told her. “Never, ever, stop writing.” I sighed in relief, opened my journal and put those words down.

Never, ever, stop writing! (Click to Tweet)

It was then that I began to write. Really write. Not just in my journal. I finally allowed myself to finish writing the fiction I started when I was twelve years old.

I began following blogs that inspired me to write. I looked for writing communities. And I started to ask for feedback that would help me, not hinder me.

My first blogs posts held encouraging comments from writing classmates that said I was funny! They even said they were looking forward to what I’d write next!

Whaaaat?!

This was healing for me. Not the comments in themselves, but the ability to write without fear of what people were going to say.

All I had to do was put it out there confidently.

One of the bloggers that I follow wrote a post that told me something incredible. He said “Introduce yourself as a writer. It will change your life.” So, I started writing it out.

My name is Chelsea, and I am a writer.

The next month, I quit my job. Not because I was making good income. No, not at all. But because I knew where I wanted to be and realized I had been killing my dream due to thinking I didn’t have talent or ability.

I will not live my life in that lie anymore.

Everyday there is a point where you have to accept yourself for who you really are. (Click to Tweet)

Not the person people expect you to be. But as the person you know you are deep in your soul.

Are you a writer? Then believe it!

I had to stop thinking about those red marks, and whether or not people were disgusted by my jumbled paragraphs. I had to stop remembering all the time that the writer I thought sucked had made the A+ list.

Every day I have to remember that I have my own voice, my own opinions, my own perspective. I’m different. You’re different.

And some people need to hear it. Not from anyone else but YOU.

We are not responsible for another persons happiness. We are responsible for ours.

I had almost killed my dream of being a writer by allowing others perspective of success tell me I’d never arrive.

Now, I don’t care! A lot of people will dislike what I write. Their words have the potential to cut me at the core. Yet, I know now that this is me. This is where I’m supposed to be.

Let’s not forget why we love writing. It’s not about the money. It’s about the calling.

Writing is a calling!

One that you have to accept for yourself. You know if you’re called or not. If you’re not, then get out of here and find your true passion! If you are, you can feel that burning in your heart, that excitement in your belly and that thrill in your mind that dreams really do come true.

Just Write. Believe it, and do it.

So how do you overcome Writers Doubt? Share with us in the comments.

Congratulations, Chelsea!

Join me in congratulating Chelsea in the comments. ~Bryan

Second place will be announced on Sunday, the 19th, and First place on Wednesday, the 22nd of October 2014.

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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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins

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  • Thank you, I needed to hear that as I still have my issues regarding my writing skills, I’ll follow your advice and next time I think I do no have what it takes, I’ll just keep writing because I love it 😉

    • Altiv, you’ve got it right, It’s all about the love of it! Keep it up! 🙂

  • Congratulations Chelsea! Great post, chock full of words that will motivate. Love your passion.

    • Thanks Anne, That means a lot. 🙂

  • Terrific job, Chelsea. You tell it like it is; plus, give great motivation. Well done!

    • Thank you Marcy! Honesty’s the best policy, right? 🙂

  • Loved this! Excellent writing about writing! Your passion for your craft shines through you words. Best wishes to you as you pursue your dream!

    • Thank you Beth, And…. Thank you for you honesty in your feelings toward writing fiction. I’m not sure if I’m on the right track, but I’m thinking that the best part of being responsible for my own career in writing is that I get to pick and choose what I want and don’t want to write about. I might find this not to be true in the future, but for now I love that I get to write what I want to. 🙂 I hope you do too!

  • You also asked how we, the readers, overcome Writer’s Doubt….. I can’t say I have a formula as of yet, but I sure wish I did! My biggest doubts come because I have no desire whatsoever to write fiction. I have discovered in my writing life that I am not an original storyteller, but I am an awesome story re-teller. I write purely non-fiction, and also love taking actual events and rewriting them to point out a moral, develop a take-away thought, give them a positive life spin, or a tie-in to faith. Sometimes I doubt that’s what “real” writing is, because most of what I read about is authors just like yourself who are pouring blood, sweat and tears into a novel or another fictional character or story. I respect that tremendously, and often wish I felt the same, but I cannot conjure up or create a desure within me that just isn’t there.

    So happy for you!

    • You and I sound like we have a lot in common, Beth. 🙂 Keep writing non-fiction, there’s no requirement in the life of a writer to write fiction. (At least I hope not!)

      • Thanks, Bryan – I appreciate the vote of confidence!

  • Congratulations on winning 3rd place and another Congratulations for your ability to overcome doubt about your writing. All the best for your future writing.

    Adelaide

  • Andria R Bicknell

    Congratulations, Chelsea! One of my favorite lines, “…the ability to write without fear of what people were going to say.” This is huge in the fight against Writer’s Doubt, and a familiar voice in my head as a (recovering) perfectionist. Well done!

    • Thanks Andria! I’m such a perfectionist it’s ridiculous. Hopefully soon I can say I’m “recovering”. 🙂

      • Andria R Bicknell

        Well then, I invite you to visit my blog, http://www.typeaplansb.com, where basically I tell myself, “I got this!” Hahahaha! I visited yours this morning, and it’s lovely.

  • Justine Manzano

    Congratulations Chelsea! I’ve also found that one of the biggest steps in my writing career came when I started introducing myself as a writer. Good luck in your writing future and thank you for this morning dose of inspiration! Nice work!

  • Great first step, Chelsea! Being brave enough to say out loud what you are – a writer – will get you where you want to go. When you believe it, others will too. I do!

    • Thanks Ronnie! I notice just saying it is changing my life, and I love it! 🙂

  • Nice job Chelsea! I especially like the line “Some people need to hear it. Not from anyone else but YOU!” I tell my writer friends that all the time. You have a unique way of delivering your message. Even if you’ve seen it written before in another way, your way of putting it might be the only way that other person is going to ‘get’ it. I’m very glad to know you overcame your doubts and are now living your dream!

  • debra elramey

    Those red marks crucified your young writer’s heart, but you
    overcame, your dreams resurrected – Hallelujah!

    • Not all the red marks were bad, but they did hurt. I’m grateful for people like Bryan who remind us that we ARE good enough. 🙂

  • Nick ‘n Sarah Anderson

    Great job, Chelsea! Thanks for sharing your story and thanks for sticking with your dream. Your essay was heart-rending, humorous, and hopeful, and it encouraged me to be myself and keep pursuing the dream of telling my stories even in the face of discouragement and disappointment. Way to go! Never, ever stop writing!

  • Christine (BetterNovelProject)

    Congrats, Chelsea!! 🙂

  • Nicky

    Thanks for sharing Chelsea! I have had a similar experience. It is especially hard now because of the ease of self publishing and putting yourself out there for criticism but I have to trust my instincts and keep pressing forward to never look back.

    • I’m right there with you Nicky. We’ll keep going forward together. 🙂

  • Congrats, Chelsea! Not just on the essay, but on being able to say you’re a writer. 🙂 Great job!

  • Liwen

    Congratulations, Chelsea!! Your piece is very motivating, thanks for writing it. Funny how our worst critic is ourselves. I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors!

    • Thank you, Liwen, If only I could turn my critical mind off. Working on that one. 🙂

  • Brooke

    Your words are strong and to the point. Congratulations, Chelsea! Keep on writing!

  • Congrats Chelsea!

  • Edit Write Services

    Stop procrastinating. That is definitely a great way to start writing. Thanks for this.

    Please visit our website at
    http://www.editwriteservices.com

  • Congrats Chelsea! I think we’ve all had red marks written on our heart at some point. We all need to be strong enough to erase them ourselves instead of waiting for someone to come along and erase them for us.

  • Teresa Edmond

    Congratulations on overcoming your fears! There are many people who don’t live out their dreams like you can. Keep writing. Your essay is inspiring.

  • Joni Gaston

    Thank you! It was if you dipped inside my heart to ink your pen! Congratulations!

    • I love how you worded that. Thanks Joni. 🙂

  • Congratulations Chelsea – you beat the RED MARKS and banished them with your words. I too experienced the Red Marks… and years of not writing what I wanted – but now with 2 published and a third in the works I’ve put those marks behind me. YOU GO GIRL – AND NEVER, EVER STOP WRITING.

  • Marianne Kesler

    Thanks for the good words Chelsea and congratulations!! Loved this line (in a painful way) “The red marks were not only written on my paper. They were written on my heart.” Write on …

  • Awesome…I can relate to how you stopped writing for awhile, picked it up again, tried to fit it into your jobs. They say writers, to be published, must be persistent. It seems you have that trait. Best wishes as you continue to never stop writing!

  • Pingback: » Overcoming Writer’s Doubt Rachael Dahl()

  • Did I miss the 2nd and 1st place announcement?