IWSG Post 21: The Human Flicker of Doubt



[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner.

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!


  • I really wish I never screwed up.
  • I really wish my every last word and sentence I typed was exactly right on.
    • No typos. No forgotten punctuation, and every word flowed smoothly with purpose.
  • Why can’t my first draft be perfect? It’s perfect in my thoughts, right?
  • And why can’t I act the way I really want to act?

Every time I finish something I write, I want to believe inside it’s really great. After all, stories are alive inside of us, and why can’t we get it out perfectly the way we really want and mean to do the first time?

I just told my kids the other day no one is perfect, and we must forgive and admit we screw up and say sorry. Emotion is a tricky thing though, and in answer to this month’s IWSG question, “Did you ever say ‘I quit?’ If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?”

My answer is never on purpose. My philosophy is to try and to keep trying until the sport, the class, the project is over. Reflect. Think about what works and what didn’t. Ask others to help. But the honest heart felt thought should be, if you loved it, if you liked it, then I encourage continued steps. True, at one point in high school I walked away from writing. I think my own emotional chaos erupted and my thoughts shifted to graduation, college, and how to prepare myself for the real world. I walked away from me then, too, and always felt something was missing.

But I’m back, and I wake up every day with stories and words in my head. I can’t always write every day, but I know I will try as hard as I can the next time, the next day because there is always a next day.

Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic, made a video about writing and how difficult it is to finish something and submit it to the world to analyze and decide whether it’s fit to print or not. Waiting is the worse step and a very emotional piece in anything we do. We practice. We perform. Then we wait for the evaluation. Yes, my head goes back and forth with whether my stories are good enough. One day I say, ‘of course it is.’ The next day, I find human doubt poking at me, and I say, ‘what were you thinking?’ According to Victoria Schwab though, writers never stop. The best way to get through human doubt is to create something new, and keep writing.

Question: Do you have words of advice you follow? What keeps your own fire burning past the doubt?


About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on June 7, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 46 Comments.

  1. Love the advice from Victoria Schwab 🙂

    “You have three choices in this life: be good, get good or give up.” I heard this in an episode of House, MD and whenever doubt tries to cripple me, I think of it and (usually) my competitive nature takes over and the doubt disappears. Chocolate helps too 😉

  2. Keep doing whatever you do and one day you’ll be rewarded. And to get the reward we have no other option but to wait. This is such a lovely post 🙂

  3. I love that quote! I don’t write every day either and I don’t believe in that saying where a writer should write everyday. Your brain needs a break. I agree and struggle with your first 5 sentences, I think all writers suffer in the same way. No one is perfect, and no book is perfect.

    A very good post Erika.

  4. Mine is Thou shall not suck, so her advice is probably better. Just keep writing and growing.
    And you need to visit Fundy Blue today – she reviewed Hero Lost and guess whose story she liked the most…?

  5. “The best way to get through human doubt is to create something new and keep writing.” Yes!! This is so good. I look at things I write, have written, and wonder, shake my had, threaten to throw it all out and take up knitting. Then the stories star humming and I have to follow the Pied Pipers of my dreams. We can walk away, take a break (which I believe is good) but writers really can’t walk away forever. That’s how I know I have to write, even if I take a much needed break from time to time. Cheers! Jen

  6. Your philosophy is a great one. 🙂

  7. spunkonastick

    I think it’s the validation step that messes with our heads the most.

  8. Loni Townsend

    Reminds me of Dory. Just keep swimming! Er, I mean, writing!

  9. I’m not sure what drives me to the end. I suspect it’s the fact I outline, so I know where I’m going.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  10. I like that idea–creating something new and moving on. It really is the best approach. Otherwise, we will obsess, eh? It’s in our nature.

  11. Oh, to write perfectly the first time. That’s the writer’s fondest dream, isn’t it?

  12. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    I enjoyed your post every much, Erika ~ great food for thought here!

    I can hear Robert Schuller saying those words. I used to go to his church in Garden Grove in what seems like another lifetime. But it’s so true!

    Some things I try and then let go of, because I realize they are not passions that drive me. but writing is forever in my mind. I realized early on that I was going to have to have a career, that writing likely wouldn’t support me. The starving writer in the garret image did not appeal to me. I like to be well fed and warm! I’m happy to be at this point in my life when I can write so much more. Every thing in its season. Good luck with your writing in June!

    • It sounds like you have had an extremely interesting life. I would love to meet those folks who have said some profound words that stick in our world. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences with me 🙂

  13. I think my piece is perfect until I reread it… Good thoughts and I like the Schuller quote.


  14. I don’t think writing should be forced, like any creative pursuit. It should flow free, be a joy, not a chore. When you walked away from writing in high school, that was not as much quitting as a step up. You subconscious told you you needed life experience to be a better writer, and you followed its wise advice. And it paid off.

  15. I cannot stop writing, doubt or no doubt, so I just write. I wish I was more consistent with it though.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  16. When I finish writing something for the day, I know it’s not going to be as good tomorrow as I think it is today. Despite that, I also ask myself if I’m happy with what I wrote today. If the answer is yes, then it doesn’t matter what it looks like tomorrow. That’s what editing is for.

  17. tyreanmartinson

    I try to get words on a page somehow – journal, short short, poetry, novel WIP, list of goals – anything, and then I can say – yes, I accomplished that. It helps on the hard days. And, then there are days when my journal is where I vent all my joys and sorrows, but my fiction suffers – those are the days that I feel like I’ve quit the dream for wallowing, but I keep going back to the dream, somehow.

    • I love how you let your mind wander as you write and do what your mind needs to do Tyrean. Thank you for stopping in today. I have been thinking and praying for you 🙂

  18. I was on this back-and-forth roller coaster yesterday. Should i include my chapter that is erotic in nature or quash it? Two hours of google searches on my genre later, I hadn’t made a decision and went to bed that way. Today, when I woke, I wasn’t any clearer, but I had a better editing day, and feel better overall.

    • I think a good editing day is a really positive day. And cutting chapters is never an easy decision. Clarity will eventually come though 🙂 Thank you for stopping in today 🙂

  19. You write heartfelt posts, that’s for sure! And I love your choice of quotes.

  20. I love this part – “The best way to get through human doubt is to create something new, and keep writing.” Yes! 🙂

  21. Waiting for others evaluation is so awful. It’s probably a big contributing factor to why I procrastinate things for so long – I want to delay being judged by others. Great quote 🙂

  22. Difficult isn’t it? Writing is not for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure. I loved the question this month, I thought it was rocking. Loved the honesty in your post, Erika!

  23. Never making mistakes is so unhuman. I do know people who are uncannily accurate. Sure they’re a resource, but they couldn’t be a friend because they have no concept of what a normal person is like.

  24. I love this! I feel like we’re all way too hard on ourselves. It does get easier over time, but those voices of doubt are always there.

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