such a novice

Even though I have been writing since I was a kid …

Even though I have a degree in creative writing …

Even though I have written almost every day for the last four years …

I sometimes still feel as if I have no idea what I am doing.  Once a month, I meet with a group of talented women writers who read my work and give me ideas on how to improve my work, and I leave these meetings doubting myself, wondering if I should go to grad school to learn more, if I should be reading other books than what I am, if I should throw in the towel.

I won’t.  I love writing too much to do that.  But it doesn’t mean that I don’t go home wondering if I am wasting everyone’s time with the scratches and jottings that I bring to the table every month.

My knowledge of the craft is still so limited.  My stories lack essential ingredients that I’ve known about since grade school.  My scenes go nowhere.  My characters are hard to believe.  I am thirty years old, and sometimes I feel as if I know nothing.

This is not the fault of the women in my writing group.  This is a lack of confidence in myself and in my work.

And yet, when I consider it, I know that I have grown as a writer in the years since undergrad.  I know that, draft after draft, I am improving.  I have a fierce dedication, such that I would write even if I were guaranteed to not find success.

Any ideas or encouragement for this doubtful girl today?  Please share.

11 thoughts on “such a novice

  1. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. If you did, it wouldn’t be as beautiful. God surprises broken people by giving them something beautiful to create.
    And no matter what your stories are missing, or whose standards they don’t measure up to, you’re not writing for that audience. Your writing is uniquely you; you have a story to tell that no one else does. In that sense, it doesn’t matter what skills you do or don’t have, because you have something that sets you apart regardless.

    And for the record, your writing is pretty freakin amazing. You don’t need to doubt yourself. (:

  2. I think you’re doing wonderfully well, Jackie. It’s natural to doubt yourself–it’s the nature of the beast for writers, I think. Just keep on writing–it’s your gift and your calling.

  3. Stay encouraged and you’ve already said that you won’t give us. When times seem rough, it is a test of your faith in you. That faith will make you stronger and increase your perseverance. You must push on to be the very best you can be and don’t settle for less.

  4. Oh Jackie, you are too hard on yourself! I’ve read your work, and it has left me breathless! Your characters are so REAL, like living breathing friends, and your scenes left me aching for more… You have a GIFT. God entrusted you with a love of words because He knew you’d treasure them and use them for His glory. You are an AMAZING writer!

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