Anne Peterson

Healing words for wounded souls.

I Didn’t Invite him

 

front door

“I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: Overcoming Writer’s Doubt’ held by Positive Writer.”

He showed up again. I didn’t invite him, but that didn’t matter.

He never offered anything positive, but instead questioned any good ideas I had. And if I trembled starting something new, that’s when doubt would spew out tons of reasons why I SHOULD be scared.

In April, I launched my second book, BROKEN. Never had I felt such strong opposition.

My first book, Real Love was a peek into my life. The second one opened the doors to let the world in.

As I bled onto the pages, doubt made sure I heard each negative comment from his front row, center seat.

Doubt is stubborn. But, the good news is, so am I. Although I prefer to think of myself as tenacious. It sounds better, don’t you think?

I Felt Defeated

Attempting to put my life on paper, technology kept interfering. I was approaching the finish line. All that remained was pagination.

All the tutorials said pagination was easy. But technology and I are not friends. I tolerate him and he lives to torment me.

First, I elected to add the page numbers automatically. Even that gave me trouble.

It’s important to note I was trying to do this job without knowing I needed to be in Page Layout. Something I realized as I worked on my recent book. What should have taken moments took hours. Okay, days.

Ignorance is not bliss. Unaware I was using the wrong format, I continued trying to put number my pages. I demanded they comply. Eventually I added them manually, one page number at a time. Yes, I did that. And afterwards, some of the numbers declared mutiny and actually switched places. One time, sections of my book were numbered with only two numbers. 49, and 50. I thought I was going nuts.

People told me, “It’s easy. You’ll get it.” I googled, and watched You Tube tutorials of smiling people whose numbers cheerfully jumped on their pages.

I kept getting back on that kicking bull.

And yes, I’m well aware that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I believe you’ll find my picture next to that definition. Note I am NOT smiling.

Like returning a child to time-out, I marched those rebellious numbers back to their rightful spots. And when I looked away, they moved again! And if it’s possible I think I heard laughter. Do numbers laugh?

Through it all, doubt sat there grinning. I hate that grin.

“You’ll never get it,” he taunted.

“Just watch me,” I seethed.

What I learned

Eventually I got it done. And I remember being afraid to even breathe. Since that time, I’ve made some significant discoveries:

1) I have a metal mind which slams shut when I think I’m right. (My husband pointed this out to me).

2) Doubt has a good memory. In those moments when I tried standing up to doubt, he opened his memory bank, reminding me of my previous failures. He’s good at remembering the bad.

3) I can speak louder than doubt. When doubt listed my failures, I counteracted by listing some of my successes. A list I keep in mind for those occasions.

I did it

Bottom line is this. I did finish my second book. And after beating myself up a bit, I gave myself grace.

As long as I have to use technology, I will make mistakes. And I’m okay with that. I don’t have to be good at everything. I have freedom.

The point is, I outlasted doubt. And the more I do that, the shorter his stays will be.

It’s unreasonable to think he won’t show up.

As long as we have something of value to offer, doubt will be there.

If you struggle in your writing or another area, and doubt tries showing you up, arm yourself. I suggest reading Bryan Hutchinson’s book, Writer’s Doubt.

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Using his own experiences, Bryan shines a light on some of Doubt’s tactics, helping us understand what we’re up against.

Remember, when we take risks, doubt will show up, uninvited and obnoxious. You can count on it. But being prepared will make all the difference.

Don’t let doubt stop you. You’ve got a story to tell, one we need to hear.

About Anne Peterson

I write words you can feel, sometimes they rhyme. If I'm not writing, I'm telling stories from my head, to little ones who call me grandma.

19 Replies

  1. Anne, I LOVED this! Mainly because that dang doubt/fear/monster/dragon, who I call Bernice in my own writing mind, lives at my house, too! It gets worse when she brings friends. Perhaps it’s the friends that remind your Doubt about all those past mistakes. Actually, it’s probably Doubt who caused us to make the mistakes in the first place giving us the shakes because we were not confident of what we were doing. They all need to take a hike!

    I felt your frustration with those page numbers. I remember doing the same thing, page by page, with my Masters thesis. Oh, the pain!!! Seriously, could we be any more tortured????

    I am so proud of your metal mind and your resistance to resistance and am anxiously waiting to read that book that was able to survive!!

    Shari 🙂

  2. Shari,
    Thanks for reading and your comments which so clearly prove you know from whenst I write.
    I’d love to say I have conquered doubt, but alas, he was here this past week as well. I wrote a children’s book and am still having technical difficulties, technological to be more precise. Anyway, I am determined to get this book out too. Hope you do get a chance to read the book that was a challenge to write.

  3. “I can speak louder than doubt. When doubt listed my failures, I counteracted by listing some of my successes” Great post, Anne. I hate how quick we are to believe the negative some times. I’m glad Truth is louder if we choose to listen.

  4. Thanks Eileen, I appreciate you reading it and for your thoughtful comments. And you’re right, truth is louder. May God help us to always hear it.

  5. Thank you! You are an encourager!

    1. Thanks for reading, Kathleen. I appreciate your comment.

  6. Some stories are difficult to tell, for sure. Opening the doors wide open to who you are is very different than just letting someone peek into your life. The truth needs to prevail, though. (I speak to myself as well.) You are brave. And an excellent writer. I will buy the book when you release it.

    (A side note: Are my eyes deceiving me or is there a typo in the first line of the What I Learned section? breathe or breather? )

    1. Claire,

      Thank you for reading and for your response. You know, it’s hard to feel brave as you are sitting there trembling as you do it. The book has already been released and is available on Amazon in both paper and Kindle.

      And thank you for catching the typo. Great catch. I fixed it.

  7. Thank you. It is funny I caught the typo but missed the release date in the post. English teacher coming out in me I suppose. Will head on over the Amazon….
    Best wishes.

  8. Can I laugh at myself now…

  9. Anne I had no doubt at all that you would finish the book. You should be so proud of it. There is no other Author with your unique talents and many people will connect with you, because you were brave enough to share your life. It will help many others.

    1. Kath,
      Thanks for your confidence in me. I appreciate your encouragement. I have had similar challenges with this children’s book, but I’m determined to get it done.

      1. Anne you are amazing and you have many books to share with the world. I am plodding along and learning as I go.

        1. Kath,
          You have always been so encouraging. I am plodding through as well. And believe me I am still learning things that are so basic. But you know what, we’re trying, and that’s good.

  10. Anne, hallo. Remember me? If you don’t it’s because I’ve been overwhelmed with stuff these past months. But I’m slowly getting back on track. I have writers doubt – so big – you won’t believe. I don’t care anymore. My imaginary friends will return some day. I miss them.
    I’m seriously technically challenged too. Wasted 8 hours yesterday on my blog issues. The blog needs an overhaul.
    Other than that. I love your writing. It feels as if you and me are sitting on a couch and chatting. I might or might not read Bryan’s book. Oh, I have time management issues too. If I find time.
    Busy with other stuff that I love doing for now.
    Lots of love,
    Pxx

  11. Missed you my friend, but totally understand. And I love all the things you are doing. You are so adventuresome. I admire that. So we’re sisters on the side of hating technology? Great. Because I still do. But I think we better say it quietly if we want to still have the opportunity to reach each other across many miles. 🙂

  12. I really like this Anne! I am also entered in this contest (here it is if you’re interested) Your stubbornness reminded me so much of my main character determined to show the world that she can do anything. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. Miriam,
      Thanks for reading and for your comments. It’s funny how I like to see myself as tenacious, when in reality it is stubbornness I possess.

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