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Is Self-Doubt Delaying Your Calling?

In a world with shiny Instagram-worthy posts about other writers’ publishing accomplishments, immaculate writing nooks, and perfectly crafted cover reveals and book launches, it’s natural for writers to shift into self-doubt mode.


I’m just not good enough.

They’re so much more accomplished than me.

I’m not a “real” writer.

I have nothing to offer.


We've all had these thoughts at one time or another in out writing and publishing journeys.

Photo by Tara Winstead


I remember years ago I was working with an amazing licensed professional counselor who specialized in marriage and family practice. We’d been refining her content for a book on relationships, and I was consistently impressed with her ability to speak passionately and articulately about her topic. It was all I could do to keep up with her as she spoke and dropped her golden nuggets of wisdom. Toward the end of one of our calls, she got quiet and asked me, “Do you really think this is going to resonate with readers?” I was floored. I’d seen how successful she was in her practice, and I’d experienced the wisdom and insight she had around her field of study. How could she, even for one minute, doubt how incredible she was? It was at that moment I realized that everyone has insecurities.


We all struggle from time to time with self-doubt, wondering if our writing craft is good enough, our target market is defined enough, and our purpose is compelling enough. Even those who have written and published several books and have a decent following still wonder whether their writing will be well received and hit home with readers or result in a lackluster, mediocre launch into the world.


It’s comforting to know that we are not alone in our struggle, but how can we push past the doubt and embrace the calling we have on our lives to write?


1 – Get Lifted


If you have been called to write in the faith community, whether it’s a personal story that encourages others and glorifies God or one that will build others up in their faith, you need to go to the source of strength and wisdom first. It's God who called you, and it is he who will equip you to do the work.


“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” –James 1:5


“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” –Psalm 73:26


“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” –James 4:10


Spend some time in the Word, asking God what he wants you to learn each day, as well as what he wants you to say. He gave the prophets of old the words to speak, and he will do the same for you! Even if the only thing you receive from that time is dwelling in the presence of God for a while, you will come out of it refreshed and renewed for your purpose.


2 - Get Proficient


The more you write, edit, and receive feedback from other writers, the more confident you will become in your craft. Just like anything else that you work at faithfully to master over time, writing takes consistent work and practice. You may even want to take a writing class, join a writing challenge, or find a writing retreat where you can hone your craft and gain focus for your work.


Even if you don’t have a current work-in-progress, keep your writing muscles strong with short opinion pieces, journal entries, or blogs. You might think it’s a one-off piece now that will stay tucked away in your notebook or phone, but it may eventually be perfect for a topical article submission or future book chapter.


2 – Get Connected


Writing can often be a solitary profession, and you may find yourself isolated from others, especially when you’re unsure of your skills or calling. When you’re working from a place of self-doubt, that solitude can kill your creativity and productivity. Try reaching out to other writers in your circle and ask if they would be open to meeting regularly for fellowship and feedback.


No one will be able to understand your insecurities better than a fellow writer, and chances are, that feeling of “I’m not alone in this” will be enough to give you a burst of self-confidence.


*****


Don’t let self-doubt keep you from sharing what God has called you to write! We need more writers speaking about God’s Word and proclaiming truth, especially in these dark times, and God will give you everything you need to accomplish his purposes in your life and the lives of others.


There is no one else who is better suited to write what God has specifically asked you to write! He chose you, and he will equip you when you trust him through the writing process. Lean on his strength and wisdom, practice with consistency and faithfulness, and get connected with other writers who are walking out their callings as well.

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