In 2011 I self-published my first novel; my ONLY novel to date. I released it in four parts alongside an album (One World Less), which if I’m brutally honest I did so that my first literary effort could hide behind something in which I had more self-confidence.
But there was a moment during the process that I almost deleted the 60,000 words from my hard drive and gave up on the idea all together. A moment I have not talked about until now. The doubt and pain of that particular moment were brought back for me to deal with when I recently ready Writer’s Doubt, which is the fantastic new book by Bryan Hutchinson.
After I had finished shaping and editing The Prisoner I sent it to half a dozen people to look through, proof read, and tell me of any confusions and inconsistencies with certain aspects of the plot. It was a fantastically helpful exercise; one that caused me a moderately high level of anxiety…
More than any art I had created before this project felt like I was laying my soul absolutely bear.
So, it was great when the positive feedback started coming back along with changes I could implement to enhance the story (and missed spelling/grammar errors).
I was feeling overwhelmingly positive and excited to put the book out, finally confident that it wasn’t just a nonsensical, self-indulgent piece of claptrap.
But then there was the final piece of feedback; the friend I started to presume had forgotten or just didn’t have the time for it. Alas, no. As if my confidence had been built on a house of cards, in the time it took to read one email, my world came tumbling down.
‘To be honest with you I don’t see the point in this book at all. What are you trying to say? I haven’t gone through with specific changes because it wouldn’t make sense to suggest amendments to something I have no belief in…’ and it went on along a similar line for a little while longer.
I’m sure you can imagine that it hurt to read that. It left me cold, empty and completely doubting not only what I had written but my entire existence. I know that sounds extreme but to have that said about something in which I poured so much of who I am, my questions and struggles, and a huge amount of my time and effort.
There was no redemption or constructive line that I could hang my hope on. Nothing useful. It just felt like I had been attacked…by a friend.
I had actually all but forgotten about this until I read Writer’s Doubt. I felt compelled to confront myself and revisit this moment of deepest doubt, which turned out to be very helpful. To be honest I wish I had this book to hand at the time.
It would have helped me realise that I don’t have to listen to everyone; that criticism is highly subjective and can have more to say about the mental state of the giver than the work about which it is being given; and that there will inevitably be people who don’t understand or misinterpret what you’re trying to do.
It is a wonderful book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to do anything creative, not just write. Bryan touches on many aspects of what it means to be human and the doubt that we all experience when we push gently against the status quo and the expectations other people have of us.
It’s both inspirational AND practical, giving many great tips for people just starting and those of us who are already writing/creating consistently. Whether you want to improve your writing, understand the psychological impact of putting your creative endeavours in front of other people, or build your audience and online platform, this book has so much to offer.
Bryan has been there, having been told by people throughout his life that he is ‘not good enough to be a writer‘. He writes about the pain that comes from of hearing those words, and talks through the methods he has successfully employed to lead him to become a successful platform builder, tribe leader, and author of a whole range of expert-endorsed, best-selling books, read by hundreds of thousands of people.
Bryan is the perfect example of a gentle rebel and artist who steps into his fears, struggles, and doubts to do the work that is calling at him from somewhere deeper within.
Bryan did a written interview for Sheep Dressed Like Wolves last year, but I will definitely look to having a deeper conversation with him about Writer’s Doubt, coping with criticism, and re-framing negative experiences to do great things.
The following is taken from the book blurb. If this appeals to you then do yourself a favour and buy Writer’s Doubt now.
You Will Discover:
*How to let go and tell your story.
*Your potential and how to reach it.
*How to break free from inhibitions and self-imposed limitations.
*How to overcome your internal (and external) naysayers.
*How to use your doubts and fears to your advantage.
*How to find (and utilize) inspiration and motivation, and how to effectively use affirmations.
*How to use daily writing rituals in order to write repeat every day and get into the Writer’s Zone.