When in Doubt

For this week's post On Writing, I thought about Self-Doubt and Reality TV. How can these two concepts connect to writing? Well, they're closer together than you think, dear reader.

First, Self-Doubt. Unfortunately, this is part of the writing process. A writer that doesn't have doubts may be knocking on the door of disappointment. Not having doubts doesn't mean you're confident. It can mean a myriad of things, which I will leave for you to dissect, dear reader, since that's not what this post is all about.

What I wanted to focus on is the upside to doubt. It makes you more receptive to feedback. Being closed to feedback can really hurt you as a writer. Feedback is important because it allows you to see new avenues into the story with which you might not have seen while writing. If you didn't have doubts, then possibly, you would not see the need to venture down those fantastic avenues.

Now, where does Reality TV come in? Well, I love watching competition shows like Top Chef, Top Model, and especially Project Runway. What these shows have in common is the opportunity to pursue a dream. We are all pursuing our dreams; at least, I hope we all are because it would be a waste of a life if we didn't. If you watch these kinds of shows, you will see that more often than not the contestants have self-doubt. At the moment, I'm watching Season 8 of Project Runway, and from what I'm seeing, there's a lot of talent among the contestants. But even the most talented ones second guess themselves. When Tim comes in to critique the works-in-progress, the designers go two ways. They either doubt themselves more or they find clarity based on the critic.

As writers, we are faced with doubts. Is my story good enough? Am I doing this right? What if they don't like it? What if I don't get an agent? What if I don't get published? What if I crash and burn? I'm sure there are many other similar questions in your head, dear reader.

But at the end of the day, it always boils down to the "make it work" moment, borrowing Tim's catch phrase. Will you make something out of those doubts? Or will you let the doubt paralyze you from following your dream? In the reality shows that I’ve mentioned, these questions come to life. Those who make it work find success while those who let themselves drown in doubt end up sent home.


  1. Great post. I wonder if anyone doesn't suffer from self-doubt? Personally I, like everyone, love book reviews. The honest reviewers will always put something in they didn't like about the book and I do tend to concentrate on those points. But that's positive because it means I'll not make the same mistake again (if a number of reviewers have pointed out the same thing).

  2. I nominated you for an award. Come check it out!


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