Writing doubts: climbing out of the pit

Writing Doubts: Climbing Out of the Pit

This guest post is by Bryan Hutchinson.

Sometimes I want to give up. Sometimes I don’t want to write anymore. And sometimes I do give up and stop writing.

Have you been there? Stuck and filled with doubt.

Seth Godin has a great term called The Dip for when you’re in a temporary setback, when you are ready to give up and decide to either quit, or stick. But there’s another dip, which is more about internal self-doubt, which I like to call the pit. For many of us, it is a very real place we fall into when we feel “lesser-than,” confused and exhausted from doubt, to the point of giving up.

 

The pit is deep, dark, cold, and damp. It’s not a place I want to be, and yet, I’ve found myself there more often than I would like.

It’s good that it’s not a nice place to be, because if it was pleasant, I might not climb back out, maybe you wouldn’t either.

Wanting to give up hurts because you know deep down, you want to continue, to strive and do your best. But for whatever reason, something is making you doubt yourself, and if you are not prepared, you can feel defeated.

For me this happens for different reasons at different times, and to a degree it is predictable, but still not easy to climb out of.

Writing to Overcome Struggle

I grew up with undiagnosed ADHD and dyslexia, so I’m used to being the underdog. For the longest time I didn’t feel I was good enough. I wasn’t able to finish high school, because no one figured out I had a learning disorder and ADHD. It would be years later when I was finally diagnosed.

But despite my limitations, somewhere deep inside of me I knew I wanted to be a writer.

When I write, I feel good. It is when I am at peace and feel I am worth more than any diagnosis.

I don’t know why writing makes me feel so good, but it does, and I am grateful for that.

But at the same time, writing can also be difficult. At times, sharing my writing leads to hearing things I don’t want to hear, criticisms that can be harsh and even feel mean. But, I write
anyway.

For years, I hid my writing from the world because I believed I could not measure up. What can a high-school dropout say that would matter? Who would listen?

In my twenties, I went through a major depression lasting almost a decade. Eventually, I found help through a wise, caring therapist. He helped me realize I was worth more than what the educational system and teachers said I was. I found ways to learn on my own, and since I never ran out of words, I discovered I had something of real value to offer.

I believed I was “lesser-than” for so many years, hiding my writing and other talents to protect myself from living through more ridicule and defeat.

What finally helped me break free from my depression was writing my memoir, One Boy’s Struggle. It was a therapeutic exercise my therapist suggested. Initially, I had no intention of publishing it or sharing it with anyone.

When I finally finished writing my memoir, I felt a great sense of relief. While writing had always been therapeutic for me, the difference was the details I wrote about my life. In writing the ugly, the bad and the good, I discovered I am a remarkable individual who found ways to make his way in the world despite disadvantages.

Yes, I had to do things differently and learn most things on my own. But when you have a burning desire to do something, nothing and no one will be able to stop you.

The Remarkable You

If you have a burning desire to be a writer, be a writer and don’t worry about what someone might say about your writing. Sift. Take what’s positive from what people say. Learn from it and leave everything else. Don’t take it personally. Just keep writing.

Sometimes I forget my own advice when I feel overwhelmed, back in the bottom of the pit. Then I remind myself how far I have come, and how much I have worked to get to where I am. I use writing to tell my story to help me climb the damp walls back into the light. Hopefully it will inspire others to do the same.

So whenever you find yourself filled with doubt and you feel like giving up, remember what you have done to get to where you are, the many challenges you’ve overcome. Think about all your achievements. And remember you are a unique, remarkable individual. Write anyway.

You can do it. You’re a writer.

About the Author: Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books, including the highly acclaimed, bestselling One Boys Struggle: A Memoir. Bryan is also the author of two popular blogs ADDer World and Positive Writer, where he shares encouraging messages with his readers. In his spare time Bryan enjoys exploring castles across Europe with his wife, Joan Faith.

Tell me your opinion: How do you overcome your doubts about your writing?

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. Oh, I feel like that so many times. It’s getting better the better I get though. Thank you for this post!!

    Iulian

  2. Thanks everyone. Sometimes it is good to know we are not alone on this journey. We are not alone. Keep writing.

  3. I appreciate your honesty….seems we all have struggles and roadblocks…..Thanks for the inspiration!

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