Saturday, August 13, 2022

Things for Writers to Remember When Others Cause You to Doubt

by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

Earlier this week, I was watching “American Ninja Warrior” (ANW), which is a Monday night tradition in the Vogt household. Yes, I know I may have mentioned my love of ANW in other posts. During the commercial breaks, I stared at a blank Word document and mulled over this blog post.

And then this happened:

Christopher Harding Jones, a.k.a. the “Living Wide Warrior,” came up to take his run on the semifinal’s obstacle course. This teenager lives by the motto, “Living Wide,” which his dad also lived by after being diagnosed with cancer. Given only a few months to live, his dad lived for four more years. As the motto indicates, “You can’t control the length of your life, but you can control the width.”

Before Jones’ run, a video story detailed that he has sensory processing disorder, which can cause a person to have poor balance or poor spatial orientation. The video also showed how Jones’ dad built an entire ANW course in the family’s backyard. Becoming involved with ANW helped his son gain confidence and athletic coordination. 

After the video, Jones proceeded to be the night’s first competitor to conquer the 10 obstacles on the course and hit the buzzer. 

And that’s when Akbar Gbajabiamila, one of the ANW hosts, looked right into the TV camera and said this: “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something.”

And that is the point of this entire blog post.
  • Did a teacher tell you that you can’t write?
  • Did an acquaintance tell you writing is a waste of your time? 
  • Did a family member tell you to get a real job?
  • Did you tell yourself that you’re failing at this writing gig?

Read these words again, writing friends: Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something.

Let’s be honest. Creativity is hard work with its play clothes on. 

Accept that reality and then ignore the naysayers and get to work. But don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something—and that includes you!


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, releasers May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at


  1. What a great quote, Beth: "Creativity is hard work with its play clothes on." I love that.

  2. Beth,

    Thank you for this great encouragement to keep going with our writing in spite ot the naysayers (always around us as writers--yes me too even after working in publishing for decades).

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

    1. You're so right, Terry. Being confronted with naysayers has nothing to do with where we are along the writing road.

  3. This happened to me but not about my writing. My best friend from high school told me I couldn’t sing. This was particularly hard on me as I loved to sing and anything to do with musicals. After that, I developed stage fright anytime someone wanted me to sing.

    After I was out of school, I would sing for people I felt who love me despite my voice. One of them secretly recorded me and sent the tape to Kenny Rogers’ manager. A few weeks later, I got a phone call—Kenny had listened to the tape and wanted me to come in for an audition. The thought terrified me, so I thanked them and declined. I believed what my ‘best friend’ had said. Even now in my sixties, people at a baseball game or church will tell me I belong on America’s Got Talent.

    This person who told me I couldn’t sing was wrong! I can sing, just like I can write. Some people may not like my writing but others love it, and they’re who I’m writing for.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Beth!

    1. I read your comment earlier today -- I've been traveling all day -- and your story has stayed with me all day. Who knows why your best friend said you couldn't sing all those years ago. I'm thankful you've embraced the truth now -- and that you also write for the people who love your stories.

  4. What an inspiring post, Beth! Thank you! I have always been passionate about the arts, especially writing and painting. When I was seven years old, an art teacher told me that I would never be an artist. I believed her until I met Jesus in my twenties. Then I learned that I can do all things through Christ. Today, in addition to my passion for writing fiction, I love to paint in oils and acrylics and, by God's grace, I have created numerous paintings. I forgave my art teacher and chose not to believe the lie she spoke. She was probably having a bad day. :) I chose, instead, to believe the truth that God spoke to me. I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength. Thank you for your powerful post.

    1. MaryAnn: Thank you for sharing your story. One phrase stood out to me: I forgave my art teacher ... We have to forgive those people who speak lies and rejection over us so that we can walk in truth and freedom. Powerful!

  5. I am always amazed when the Lord answers a prayer I didn’t know I had uttered. After reading this, I suddenly realized I’ve been struggling with my writing because I am listening more to others than to Him and what He puts into my heart. Thank you for this article. And thank you for giving me a new quote.

  6. I'm praying for you today that you lean into what God is speaking to you. That you hear his voice above all others. And that you let him be your voice of authority in your life.

  7. Beth, I love, love, love this post! I'm an ANW fan, and I know exactly which run you're talking about. He was such an inspiration, and Akbar's comment was right on target. I can't tell you how many times I've heard comments similar to what you listed. My favorite was: "You have to write nonfiction before you can write fiction." Years later, I think this was written from a position of jealousy, from a writer who thought that the pool wasn't big enough for other writers. Hah. Not to be. It's big enough for everyone willing to put in the work to do it.