Saturday, November 18, 2023

As Writers We Must Battle and Defeat the Doubt that Always Comes

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

It’s incredibly difficult to follow God’s path without defeating the doubt that has taken up residence in our souls. 

Doubt can be crippling to a writer. Like fear, doubt comes bubbling up from deep inside of us. It can handicap us in ways that are obvious and ways that kill us from the inside out. 

Writers face two major sources of doubt. 
  • The first comes from the voices that live in our heads. They accuse us, holding our less-than-perfect work up to ridicule in our minds and pointing out all the reasons we’ll never be good enough. 
  • The second is the voice of the enemy. He also whispers ugly lies that grow into weeds of doubt. If we don’t take care of these vicious plants—ripping them out by the roots—they’ll strangle our creativity and drown out our words. But the enemy is crafty. 

Other Important Truths About the Doubt Writers Face
  • He uses different voices to speak these lies. Sometimes you’ll hear him in the voice of a well-meaning friend or relative. At other times, his voice will seem to come from a person of influence or from your mind. He’s a master at speaking in first person and imitating my voice.
  • Believers often speak of our personal calling. We long to know that special something that God has for us to accomplish within his kingdom. Sometimes we treat the search for our calling as a quest or even a treasure hunt. But truthfully, our calling is buried deep within us, something we’re born with. It’s not a discovery to be made but a desire and yearning to accept and grow into. 
  • God has ordered all our days before we were born. He’s set into motion the events in and around us to shape us into what He has for us. Everything we need has been accounted for and placed within our grasp at the proper time. 

When we try to push past His timetable, we can become our own worst enemy. By rushing ahead or trying to work things out on our own, we make a jumbled mess. 

I’ve never met a writer whose road to publication was a straight path. All of them tell stories about a much longer journey, often filled with detours and odd twists. 

But one thing they all say is that they wouldn’t be where they are today without the experience they gained along the journey. 

Here’s my story:

I stared at the letter in my hand, almost unable to comprehend what I read. It was two days before Christmas, 1999. I’d been so sure God had called me to write, specifically to write Bible studies. This particular manuscript had been at the publishers over a year and, until that moment, I’d only received encouragement about the progress toward my first book contract.

Dear Mrs. Melson, We’re sorry but this manuscript doesn’t fit
our needs at this time. While it’s a good manuscript, you just 
don’t have the platform needed.

First came the tears, then anger and frustration. Why had God planted this seed of hope within me only to deny me the opportunity?

Fast forward to Christmas 2007, the first year our family celebrated Christmas apart. Our oldest was serving as an infantry marine in Iraq. To say it was a tough year is almost a laughable understatement, but we made it through. God brought our son home safe.

Then on Veterans Day 2011 my first book debuted—a devotional for military families. The best first book I could have ever had because it was birthed out of the fire of experience. But I had to walk the path to get there. 

During those years—that long time which felt more like treading water than moving forward—God was refining my heart and giving me time to learn to write well.

I learned that just because I had a heart to write, and a calling to write, I still had a lot to learn. Raw talent is never enough. Nothing can replace experience.

Take a look around you right now. You’re in a unique place, a place that has a lot to teach you, a place you’ll never be able to return to. Don’t waste the experiences you have access to right now. Go deep and wide as a writer, and no matter what the future brings you’ll have built a boat circumstances can never sink.


Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


  1. Edie,

    Thank you for this encouraging article. All of us have these doubts and questions in our journey. It's only as we continue to grow and learn--and keep submitting and writing that we will find our place in the publishing world. It's not easy but persistence and consistency will pay off if we just keep going.

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition) [Follow the Link for a FREE copy]

  2. I needed this today. Thank you.

  3. I always learn something from your posts. Your website is one of the very few I read. Something always strikes my heart as a writer, and this one strikes deep. Doubt is an enemy I battle everyday. Thank you for your encouragement and timely posts that make me think and seek answers.

  4. You're so right -- fighting doubt is a continual battle and the enemy knows exactly how to keep us stuck there. But every experience we face can turn us into a better, stronger writer and person of God. So, as hard as it can be to remember some days, the last laugh will always be at the enemy's expense. Thanks for helping boost our encouragement meter.