Blogging. Doubting. Hoping.

Blogging can be an entirely selfish experience. A lot of what we write relates to our own lives and the inevitable ups and downs we face along the way. Much as I try to focus on helping others I too often find myself writing about myself – my family, my faith, my running, my writing. I don’t like writing about myself as that way lies arrogance, vanity and a loss of self control. I’ve fallen victim to these vices in the past and I really don’t want to revisit them.

Yes, the blog is my bread and butter and I really am grateful for how it has reignited my love of writing. It is the platform from which I’m hoping to launch my writing career. There are days when I am filled with hope and confidence that it will happen whereas other days, like today, it seems a remote pipe dream. Doubt nags at my positivity like a dog gnawing on a bone. I look in the mirror and see a foolish, middle aged man dining out on daydreams and chasing a pot of gold at the end of an unattainable rainbow.

The beauty of novel writing is that I can escape reality and escape myself. The words I write are about fictional characters and settings. I can sit unnoticed on the sideline and watch their stories unfold. I’m not the centre of attention which suits me just fine. I don’t like being in the spotlight anymore whereas I used to crave it. I’ve flown too close to the sun, like the mythical Icarus, and had my wings singed causing me to come crashing to the ground. So it’s a daily battle as my desire to write and express myself goes toe to toe with my need to keep a lower profile and stay out of the limelight.

I have a dream but does it sit comfortably with the progress I have made to date? Sometimes I’m not so sure and worry that I’m pursuing targets which are neither healthy nor attainable. Maybe I should just settle for mediocrity. Maybe running marathons at my age is too much? Writing a book is a one in a million potshot. Am I even good enough? The only person to have read anything to date is Fionnuala. I’m scared to let anyone look at it for fear that I will be mocked and ridiculed.

So I’ll continue to wrestle with the conflicting forces inside of me. I have so much to be grateful for and sometimes I think I should draw a line in the sand and focus on what I have. We have a good life yet I’m striving to improve it. Haven’t I watched enough of my half baked plans self destruct in the past to know better? Or am I wiser now and more discerning? Who knows? Well God does but he’s not telling me just yet. Until then I’ll just continue to tentatively nudge along this tightrope of creativity in the hope that I make it to the other side without falling.

I’m blogging blind folded and I hope with all my heart that it takes us where we need to be. Doubt is healthy in a way I suppose. It tethers us to reality when, otherwise, we would drift off up into the wide, blue yonder never to return; swept away on a flight of fancy that can only end in regret and disillusionment. Yes doubt can be an unpalatable, but necessary, medicine. It is alright to doubt as long as you don’t feed the doubt to the extent that it paralyses talent and ambition. Doubt can destroy dreams like a warm knife through butter. Cutting through all the promise and potential until there is nothing left.

I hope. And I doubt. They are not comfortable bedfellows but they are who I am. They are two sides of the same coin. A coin that seems to spin forever as I flick it in the air and watch to see what side it comes down on. I watch with bated breath and dry lips. It’s a game of chance and my chance may be small but a small chance is better than no chance at all. So I’ll keep writing and hope my ideas and images gel into the book I know I have inside me. I need doubts. They keep me grounded. They keep me humble. They keep me real and honest.

And so this post draws to a close and I find myself writing about that taboo subject again – me. But whereas before I would have been oblivious to that delicious irony today it stares me down as clear as day. Self awareness is a hard earned skill and I have the scars to prove it. Scars I am proud of. They are part of who I am. They are signposts. Warning of the excesses of the past and pointing towards better times and places in our futures. A promised land of milk and honey. I’m feeling my way along the tightrope and I dare not look downwards and backwards. Only forwards and onwards. Hoping. Doubting. A step at a time.

Are you paralysed by doubt? Or do you see it as a healthy dollop of realism?

Where do yuh want your writing to take you?

83 thoughts on “Blogging. Doubting. Hoping.

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  1. We are never called to live a life of mediocrity but as Daniel who had a spirit of excellence. God has been showing me that is what he wants for our lives. All you need to do, even when you write about yourself, is submit to God and allow him to shine through you and your writing. May God continue to bless you on your journey.

    Ps. I can relate to everything you’ve said.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Writing about your ups and downs at times is not selfish. It’s great you help others but helping and loving yourself is as important or sometimes more important than helping others. Or that’s just what I feel! Don’t doubt your writing abilities. You write really well and you should throw that hesitation away and do what you want to do!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I love to write for me but I would get so much pleasure if my writing was considered good enough that others wanted to read it as well. I started a book when I was in year 9 (13yrs old) about female heroes from the ancient world.and I will finish it one day. I am a child from the 60/70s and these women inspired me. If the book is never published it will still be a moment of pleasure and pride to me for it is something I have worked on for just about my entire life.
    I think it is the things that we do not do that we regret the most, to finish the book even if it is not published achieves a goal I set for myself 40 years ago….that is something to be proud of.
    By the way, I have already put in an order for an autographed copy of your novel!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is through our own experiences that we understand the world and learn. As long as God stays on the throne in your heart, the “self” will not be able to also occupy it. He wants you to express yourself, he created your unique personality and abilities to be used. Just give Him the glory. And if you ever feel yourself slipping, just ask the Lord to help you re-shift and refocus. He won’t leave you alone. Keep writing! And God bless!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I share your feelings and it is good to know I am not alone in those feelings of doubt. Sometimes I feel like I am a sham. After all, me? A writer? Yet here I sit, writing a blog and working towards publishing a book of devotions on how to survive medical adversity. As I approach the launch of my book fear grips me. Will anyone buy it? More importantly, will my book make a difference, help, and bring a sense of peace to the reader? Does it glorify God? These questions loom large during the night and I am just an ant among many. But I hold fast to His word that “He who began and good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus – Phil 1:6”. Trust in the Lord, my friend. Each day is a new beginning and with God all is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t quit! You can achieve your dream! You can do it. Just start. Start today. Just brainstorm and write down all of your thoughts about your characters, your setting, what the theme of your book is going to be. Don’t edit. Just pour all of your thoughts into words. As I write this I realize it is not as easy as I am making this sound. I am writing an autobiography myself. Sometimes I am overflowing with people places and things to write about. Other times it is so hard to remember events from so long ago. I am not giving up. Don’t you give up either! You can do it! God bless you and your writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Doubts are indeed a frick job. They mess with our head especially right before a huge growth in our self. Keep using your courage, discipline, and faith to MOVE FORWARD! We are all cheering you on!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Indeed! We are all cheering you on ….. you see, we LOVE to read what you write. And if we do, then others who haven’t yet found you, also will. Keep writing, for us, for yourself and for all those others who one day will pick up your book, hug it and say “Yes! He’s brought out another … I MUST have it!” That’s what I do with my favourite authors and I know I’m not alone! ☀️☀️

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget the intention of our writing. First and foremost, if writing makes you happy and inspired then that is an achievement in itself. As an example, I am not the best at playing guitar, however I play regardless, for myself, and for the creativity and inspiration it provides. Whether people will ever hear me play is another story! Having an end goal and dream is never foolish. It shows a dedication and perseverance to try, and if we don’t try we can never know if it would have worked out or not. I doubt my own musical ability and writing, however without trying and holding these doubts at bay, I will never know the true dedication I have to my own creativity, and in turn my own happiness. Keep writing and expressing yourself creatively! Failure is only how you perceive it, and writing for your own happiness is never a failure.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this post and everyone’s comments. I relate too, very much. Today I see it differently than how I used to. First of all, it’s not selfish to write about yourself. For me, it’s a form of therapy. And I love to read others’ blogs, memoirs, and essays about themselves too, because it’s personal, relatable, and just easier to connect. It’s like I’m in the other person’s head when I read from the first person point of view. We’re all human and all feel the same feelings. For the longest time I wanted to be a famous memoir/essay writer, like David Sedaris or Mary Karr, but now I just want to write an anonymous blog because what I write is too personal for me to want to make public and put my name on it. You absolutely can write fiction and get it published, even if you self-publish it. Don’t believe the hype about having to get published by some prestigious publisher. If you market it well, you can reach more people. And remember, even if you reach just one person today, doesn’t that make a difference? Hugs and prayers to you, friend. Keep doing what you’re doing.

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  11. I acknowledge doubt and let it go. We cannot be controlled by fears or we would never accomplish anything, right? That is what I try to remind myself when I am feeling that way. As for my writing I suppose not just me but, my readers, I hope it takes them to inspiration, positivity and with that some form of a yoga practice.
    I love your writing, and I believe you may write the next best seller! Marketing is everything these days, once a few people see how amazing you writing is, the rest will follow. Sending good vibes!

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  12. I love writing because it allows me to explore and articulate where I struggle with it verbally. I love reading and learning about the similarities I have with others. I also like the opportunity to learn things from a perspective I may not have seen. God Bless! You’re doing great!

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  13. I think when we take the time to write about ourselves, others gain something from it because the feelings / experiences we go through can be universal. Also, I think we help others realize they’re not alone. I hope you keep writing!

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  14. I too struggle with doubt quite often! Sometimes I wonder if that is the unhealthy spirit of Satan? I am in a bible study that is looking at the 1st and 2nd books of Timothy. I have learned that a spirit of fear produces 3 perversions of power, love and self-control, causing powerlessness, hate and a drive to control others. God does not give us a spirit of fear and doubt.

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  15. As the comments here have demonstrated, you’re not alone in this struggle. Better still, Jesus knows exactly what we’re going through (Mark 9:23-24). Moreover, in the very worst cases, when fears and regrets conspire to make us deaf and mute (or even threaten to destroy us), Jesus prescribes the treatment (Mark 9:28-29) which will open our spiritual ears to God’s inspiration and fill our mouths with His words.

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  16. I think people crave “realness” and depth in this world of so much manufactured beauty. Keep being real and sharing yourself. It’s always encouraging.

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  17. Doubt is nothing more than hurdles or obstacles to overcome. No Olympic athlete ever gained the gold by sitting on the couch eating potatoe chips watching the olympics. You don’t even have to be the best writer to get published. There is plenty of junk out there in hard covered bindings. I don’t think your particular issue is writing well, because I am impressed with your word smithing, thus far. Write because you love to write and encourage others by your wonderfully transparent style and in the end, let God deal with the rewards or results. One of my favorite quotes about worrying about obtaining fame or recognition is by Oswald Chambers, in “My Utmost, for His Highest,” and he said, “are you prepared to be nobody for the Lord?” Hard question to ask yourself, isn’t it? But in the end, as Christians, we have to be prepared to put others before ourselves, and if the Lord chooses to lift us up, then great. If not, then so be it, and be content in the hopes of having lifted up others and ultimately storing up treasures in Heaven, where it really matters. Peace to you, and God bless. Keep writing, you do it well.

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  18. I don’t know if doubt paralyzes me, but anxiety certainly does. As for my writing, I’d like to publish a collection of short stories. I don’t need to be on the New York Times Bestseller List; I just want to be on par with my literary peers. I know that’s an oxymoron, but by peers, I mean classmates from my grad school writing program.

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  19. This is a good post. I believe that doubt, especially self doubt, can actually lead us to a closer faith in Jesus. Although I have finished a partial draft for a novel, blogging seems to be the ministry that God wants me to focus on right now.

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  20. Just for the record, I don’t see blogging about your life as selfish or arrogant. Instead, it gives us glimpses into others’ lives, struggles, hopes and fears. It’s a way of connecting and sharing ourselves with others. I’m American, but my ancestors are from Ireland so it’s interesting to me to read of life of a family in Ireland. In fact, it’s interesting to read about different lives no matter where the blogger is from because everyone’s life is different. I don’t know much about the struggles of OCD and you educate me with your descriptions. And so on. So please don’t see your blogging as selfish.

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  21. First, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. To answer your question, I’m not sure where I want my writing to go. I took a 10 year break from writing and all I truly know right now is that I need to write again. I’m doing it because it’s good for my soul and if my words about my struggles can encourage others, that will make my heart very happy. I do hope it leads to more opportunities to share my words, creativity, and feelings with others. I’m just at the stage where I feel it best to be very open to where it goes.

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  22. I struggle constantly with my writing. I know how you are feeling. But as my mom tells me “keep on keeping on!” I still struggle but I work through it.
    I would LOVE to read anything you’ve written if you ever wanted an outsider’s opinion!

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  23. You are a great writer, everyone has doubt, me more than most, You have a great base of followers on here and that has to tell you something. People enjoy your blogs or they wouldn’t click follow, I think that’s what blogging is all about, giving others a glimpse into our lives while evoking reactions and starting conversations and you do it really well. Keep confident in your novel, it will all come together and you will be glad you did it.

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  24. I really hear you. I worry that all that I blog is lost because I do not know how to increase followers. Sometimes I feel so foolish thinking that I have something to teach others. It is as though all of what I really want people to learn will be for nought, and I will run out of lessons and no one will have profited by them. But, I believe that this is what God calls me to do, and that He guides all that I do. So, doubt can be healthy and keep us from boasting that we are responsible for any success. I am grateful for your posts, and I dare say that some of us other bloggers wish we could be as open and trusting with our personal issues. It is refreshing. Keep writing. I pray God will continue to bless you and your wonderful family. Regina

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  25. I’ve read the work that you shared on here and I definitely your writing has merit. Although, I do understand writing in a document, and writing in a blog may not be entirely the same.

    I think personal posts can really be beneficial for others because it helps us all connect. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

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  26. I have only been following your blog for a relatively short period of time, but you don’t strike me as selfish in the least. In fact, I would say the complete opposite, as you in fact come across as a very caring and thoughtful man, Stephen.

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  27. P.S. Love your blog… here’s the interesting thing: for all you and I are very different (I’m an atheist for one thing), I nevertheless always really look forward to reading your posts and your blog is always amongst the first that I click on in my WordPress Reader every day. 🙂

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  28. I so resonate with most of the thoughts you express so very eloquently here. Seriously, dude… you should write for a living! I am a pastor and as a result, face a hard and fast deadline once a week for my writing outlet. But when I try my hand at any other form (blogging, memoir writing, poetry), it scares the crap out of me… exactly like a blindfolded tightrope walker. There is an exhilaration there and a LOAD of self-doubt involved. I believe joy comes when we are able to push through those barriers – calling on God’s help – and face those fears head-on. Continued blessings as you go! It’s not for nothing that you have more than 3,600 people following this blog.

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  29. I’d say, if you really want to publish a book or be a writer, you should just go for it because it will never become a reality unless you try and take steps to get where you want to be. I think having doubts and wondering if you’re inadequate and fearing rejection are completely normal thoughts when it comes to taking risks. But, it’s by taking risks that we learn to face our fears, and it gives us room for growth or improvement. If your favorite authors wouldn’t have taken the risk to become a writer, you wouldn’t have read their books…just let that be an encouragement.

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  30. You know one cannot lie in fiction, but facts can be manipulated, history tweaked, biographies readjusted but fiction lays the author bare. this is a beautiful blog post, good luck with your writing career.

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  31. This is so beautifully expressed. You really do have a talent. I also want to echo what some of the others have said about it being okay to write about yourself as long as its in the proper relationship with God. God can use our experiences to teach others. God bless you!

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  32. You gave me good stuff to ponder. Self-doubt I have many times. There’s a fuzzy line between self-acceptance and then trying to better yourself. I think the former must fuel the latter. For even after you grow better, you cam be netter still. Accept who, what, and where you are as is. I don’t think I ever considered a healthy form of doubt! But I think I see it just as there is a healthy form of fear-the kind that keeps us from touching a hot stove top again. But like healthy fear, I think self-doubt can go too far and limit you too much. We must use our talents, it’s a responsibility but also it’s a joy and privilege. Who knows what will come of our faithful use of them. I think just enjoy writing and creating. Enjoy the process of it, the journey. Trust the destination to God, believing he’s helping you along the way. Commit your way and works to him. Acknowledge him in all your ways. Trust in him fully. I know it’s easier said than done. Thanks for sharing. I’m a fellow jar of clay trying to blog at Jason Journals.

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  33. ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a habit, not an act.’

    Aristotle wrote that. Wisdom is eternal, it seems.

    Keep doing what you’re doing; doing is the prerequisite for everything, success and failure.

    Your self doubt is part of your journey, as it is for all of us.

    Be brave!

    Liked by 1 person

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