Guest Post: Jennifer Oliver talks about Doubt

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Jennifer Oliver.  Jennifer describes herself as ‘a day-dreamer, a hopeless romantic, a business woman, a friend, a grandmother, and a wife; but mostly…a writer.’  She currently has four WIP’s in the making, and has become a blogging warrior!  Check out her site here, and go follow her on Twitter!

Today Jenn’s talking about doubt.  That evil little beast that gnaws at the back of our brains, making us second-guess ourselves to the point of paralyzation.

I give you Jennifer Oliver, dear friendlies!



Something has been bothering me lately.  I’ve tried to deal with it and keep it from causing too much stress, but it crawls in my head somehow and nags at me from the darkened shadows of my mind.

Its called doubt.  And its evil!

It can start out as the tiniest speck, a piece of dust you think you can just blow off.  But unbeknownst to you, it has planted itself in a secluded spot in your brain and is silently growing.  Before you know it you have a whole head full of negativity bursting at the seems to tie you down and hold you back.  It’s a writer’s nightmare!

Even if you aren’t a writer you’ve still probably experienced it at some point in your life.  It can happen to anyone at anytime.  It’s not a rare occurrence, either.  For me, though, it is becoming more of a struggle to tame this demon of mine.

I try to fill myself with positive influences and mantras that strengthen my resolve and boost my motivation. This works for a time, the demon is quite.  But it always comes back.  Sometimes it reappears as a roaring beast eating away at my creativity, other times it is just a small voice whispering of skepticism and apprehension.  Either way, it is quite destructive.

But I refuse to give up this battle. I will not allow it to win and take away my dream of being a published author. I realize that this path I have chosen requires hard work and continual improvement of skill. It takes sacrifice and determination. All of which I am willing to do. It also takes thick skin and a fierce will. There will be harsh reviews that will bring down my spirits. There will be not so kind words that might even bring a tear or two. But I know that these things will only make me stronger. They will only push me to do better.

So why is the seed of doubt blooming in my thoughts and dreams?  I don’t think it has anything to do with the path I’ve chosen, but more about the daily obstacles I have to overcome to get there.  These are things we all must face, the day job, the finances, the needs of the family versus your wants, the random willingness of your muse to cooperate,  and finances – yes that one deserves a second mention!  Let me not forget that little demon voice whispering in the back of my mind “What if my writing sucks?” or “What if no one likes this?”  All of these things tend to make me wonder if I truly have the time or the “umph” in me to get to the finish line.

This is when I take a step back and I go back to basics.  First, I talk to my biggest supporter, my husband.  He always knows how to make me feel better, even if all he does is give me a huge hug and tell me he loves me.  Second, I look to my friends who never fail to offer a smile and a laugh.  Thirdly, I look to other writers and authors  for advice and inspiration.  Last, but probably most important, I write.  I don’t write for acknowledgement or advancement in my novel.  I don’t write to get accolades from others.  No, I write for me.  I write to express my feelings, to get it all out of my system.  I write to really see what the deep down root of the problem is and to find a way to solve it.  I write to make me feel better.  And it always works.

It does something else too.  It gives me a better sense of myself.  It reminds me that I am a writer and will always be a writer.  That is not something that will change, nor do I want it to.  It tells me that writing is in my soul, a part of who I am.  And knowing this, remembering this about myself, gives me the strength to get through all the daily challenges and all the frustrations.  It brings back my motivation and my excitement.  It tames the grisly beast of doubt and reinforces the desire to reach my dreams.  It allows me to tell myself with confidence, “I can do this. I will do this.”  Because I am a writer.


11 thoughts on “Guest Post: Jennifer Oliver talks about Doubt

  1. Prudence MacLeod says:

    Myndi, Jenn, Great post, ladies.
    This is a demon we all wrestle with from time to time. His name is Doubt, yes, but his mother is Fear. These demons are as old as our species, and the battle still goes on. This battle is won, one day at a time, one step at a time, hand in hand with your friends, family, and supporters. (And we are many)
    Every time you start to doubt, think about it this way, “I write for my own pleasure, I like what I write, therefore, I am already successful.” Because you are, and you always will be.

  2. Emma Burcart says:

    It seems like doubt is everywhere, and really we are our biggest obstacles. Every time I start to have a doubt I try to notice it and turn it around, Really, anything is possible. Look at all the millions of people out there doing exactly what they love. Someone once walked on the moon. Anything can happen. I also signed up for emails from The Secret, that positive thinking site, and they seem to come just when I need them. Thanks for the uplifting post!

  3. Lynn Kelley says:

    Jenn, I think you nailed all the aspects of doubt here. I can sure relate. It’s obvious that you’re a gifted writer, so keep doing what you’re doing!

    Myndi, thanks for having Jenn as your guest poster!

  4. Karen McFarland says:

    Well said Jennifer!

    Wow, are you reading my mind? All of us can relate to that monster Doubt.

    But what a great attitude you have! You are a writer. Keep it up. If you do what you love, success Will follow! 🙂

  5. Sheila Seabrook says:

    Wonderful post, Jennifer. You remind me to be thankful for those days when my doubt takes a vacation, and to bully thru it when it’s riding my shoulder. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  6. Kristy K. James says:

    Very nicely done, Jennifer. It’s something every human being deals with on a regular basis. Too many people throw in the towel and give up on their dreams because they let their doubts win the war. I’m glad you’re not one of those people. You’ll win each battle, and eventually the war, because you know who you are and what you’re meant to be. A writer. 🙂

  7. Colin Falconer says:

    Been doing this for a living for 27 years Jennifer and the doubt never goes away: ‘They liked the last one, will they like the next one? The Brits liked this one, but the Americans wouldn’t buy it – perhaps I’m not good enough? This one didn’t work as well as the last one – am I losing it? What if I never get another good idea? See – it never stops! (And that was before my 4 year writer’s block!) I’m even editing this COMMENT. Just dig in and keep working at it. Persistence is all. And keep your husband or some bourbon handy. Good post!!

  8. Debra Kristi says:

    I believe it is part of our human nature to doubt ourselves. The hard part is learning to have faith in your ability. But as you stated in your post, you surround yourself with support to help in those low times of doubt. We all have them. Husband, family, friends, we’re all here when you need us. And you will always have your writing.

    Wonderful post ladies.

  9. Louise Behiel says:

    It is so good to know I am not alone with my doubts and fears. I love the idea of just sitting down to write and forgetting them – simply writing is enough to banish the demons. great idea that i will try

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