Positive Writer

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

Quotes About Writing and Overcoming Doubt

If you’re a writer (or any kind of artist), the odds are you’ve struggled with doubt and I bet there have been days when it has been downright overwhelming, perhaps even enough to make you want to give in and give up.

Fear not, doubting one’s self is human nature, but (and this is a big BUT) it’s also part of human nature to overcome and triumph over one’s doubts.

YOU can do it! Yes, you can!


I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

– Douglas Adams

Don’t get me wrong, deadlines are important and I prefer completing work earlier rather than later, but when I focus too much on a deadline I end up stalling and if I am not careful, I get completely stuck.

The key for me to get past this is to try not to think about the due date, get to work right away and finish early.

It wasn’t always that way. I used to be the last minute master of disaster, but that was exhausting and depressing, and I rarely (if ever) completed my work on time.

When I finally realized how refreshing and rewarding it is to complete work early I began winning the internal struggle of starting. I still struggle, and I guess I always will, but I also continue to get better at starting and finishing!

blank paper how hard it is to write

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God.

– Sidney Sheldon

I am in no way comparing myself to God, but I do love this particular quote, because on days when I struggle to find the right words and everything I write seems inane, or the words just don’t come, I read it and remind myself it’s not always going to be easy.

Sometimes passion is hard work and I need to roll up my sleeves and press on.

(Tweet that, if you like.)

This quote is also helpful when my inner critic mocks me by telling me other writers are so much better and, of course, they have it easier. “They can write at will.” It tells me. “It’s easy for them.”

Yep, and the grass is always greener…


Photo Credit: Dreamstime

 If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.

– Somerset Maugham

How many of us worry about whether we are any good or not? Writing is subjective. Stop thinking about it and just do it.

If you keep writing, you’ll get better, so don’t stress yourself over it.

(If you want to tweet that, click here.)

At least, that’s what I tell myself, and I think it’s working! And that leads us to…

Robert Benchley quote

Robert Benchley

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.

– Robert Benchley

It took me fifteen years to decide if this quote ticked me off or made me feel better.

But he’s got a good point, don’t think about it – do it.


Photo Credit: Dreamstime

 Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.

– Ray Bradbury

Practice and persistence is the key to victory. Don’t give up, keep going, keep writing!


Photo Credit: Dreamstime

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.

– Edgar Rice Burroughs

That’s the truth of it, isn’t it? Be compelling, tell an interesting story and the rest will take care of itself.

We tend to put way too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to dot every i and cross every t, and yet, what we should concern ourselves with is writing a good story.

Let the editors edit. All you need to concern yourself with is writing something remarkable. This leads me to my final quote for this post…


Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.

– Barbara Kingsolver

 You’ve got something remarkable to say, so say it!

(If you agree, tweet it.)

I hope you enjoyed these quotes, now it’s your turn…

Share your favorite quote in the comments about overcoming doubt.

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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  • Love the quotes, Bryan. Very encouraging. I like what you said about pressing on. In my weekly “Tranquil Sunday” post, I quoted the verse from Philippians where Paul talks about pressing on. Then, I came hear and read your post. Yes, a New Year is coming. Time to press on!

  • Janelle Keith

    God knows how to kick me in the gut. He just used this post to shout louder than doubt. “Just tell your story!” Of course, if HE is telling me to do it then why would I fear it? So long doubt, we press on no matter the grammar mistakes, victory is waiting! I’m crossing the line of obedience to put my trust in His ability not mine. Erg!! ( trembling all the way)

  • Alex

    I don’t think this post could have come at a better time for me. I’ve found myself stuck and unable to continue on a writing project due to my own crippling self doubts and so anything to relieve that, as well as the knowledge that I’m far from alone in experiencing this, I suppose you could say, ailment is much appreciated!

  • One of my favorite quotes: “Be the writer who stays in the chair.” –Ron Carlson. Thanks for sharing these; I needed them. 🙂

  • Good post Bryan. I like it when you put quotes in.

  • Kelsey

    My favorite writing quote: “If you want to write, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. Your must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories–science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” Ray Bradbury. Sweet post! Just what I needed for the new year.

  • Terrie Coleman

    Thanks, Bryan. Love these. Very encouraging and made me smile. Happy and prolific 2014 to you.

  • coolspirit

    “You’ve got something remarkable to say, so say it!” ..
    This quote reminded me of when I saw graffiti that read “Say Something” ~ It triggered a poetry.prose,photography trilogy called the “Say Something Series”.
    No matter how small or big a part, we all have something to contribute to the conversation!

  • “You can’t have faith without doubt.” This quote, which I have read in many places, inspires me in every area of life to feel and acknowledge doubt but to move forward as an act of faith anyway.

  • Faith Watson

    Similar to “you have something remarkable to say,” I love the quote, “Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.” Which is attributed to Henry Van Dyke. Singing, writing, dancing… we have to put ourselves out there or who else will, right?

    I have a closet filled with piles of (literally) typed stuff which I thought was embarrassing, but now I find completely endearing. Honestly, the older I get, the sweeter my crappy young writing seems to me, and the more I want to keep it to look back on it, smile and nod. I’m glad I didn’t burn it all in horror when I was a bit younger, as I was tempted. It’s like some of those haircuts. And jumpsuits and stuff. We learn, we grow, plus we could never really get away with that again, and this is all good to know from a happy distance.

  • Bryan,
    I love this post! Some great quotes with great reminders!

    I found this one recently. Enjoy!

    Successful People…

    They risk more than others think is safe.

    They care more than others think is wise.

    They dream more than others think is practical.

    They expect more than others think is possible. 

    ~ Claude T. Bissell, late President of the University of Toronto

  • Laurie Kozlowski

    This post helped me so much today — especially the quote about any person who keeps working is not a failure. Today I got caught up in some little things that were bothering me, keeping me from writing. I’m keeping this post on hand as a reminder to keep going. Thanks for reminding me to not let doubts kill my dreams today. We all just take it a day at a time, and it’s really none of my business what people think of me or my writing. Just working to make it the best it can be is a reward within itself. Thanks again.

    -Laurie Kozlowski

  • I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this post and that I recommended it on my blog for beginning writers.