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The Demons Within

November 16, 2011

This blog post is going to be about demons. No. Not vampires or zombies, but the demons that plague writers the most – insecurity and lack of confidence. In her recent blog, literary agent Rachelle Gardner addressed this topic. As I read her wise words, a palpable sense of relief went through these writing veins, assuring me I was quite normal. You mean I’m not the only one who has doubts about her first novel and her writing abilities?

It would seem not. Gardner shares that many newbie novelists experience that dreaded lack of confidence, hoping the journey becomes easier with time. It doesn’t. In that same blog, a veteran novelist states:

The complete lack of confidence will likely persist and even become worse as you progress. I called my editor this summer and said, “What the heck is going on? This is my sixth novel! Shouldn’t I at least have my creative process figured out by now?” And she laughed at me. And then through snorts she said, “Oh my gosh, is that really how you think this works?”

The sad truth is – writing ain’t easy. It’s a process of ups and downs, good and bad days, thinking what you’ve written is worthy of the New York Times best-seller list to believing your words aren’t fit for a first-grade primer. As my favorite Southern author Flannery O’Connor said: “Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay …” Well, I haven’t reached that point yet. But some days it feels that way.

Although there’s no one answer to this dilemma, here are some thoughts that might give us hope. One, we’re not alone in the roller-coaster process. Other kindred writers are out there experiencing those same insecurities. And second, that innate lack of confidence can be a gift. If we listen, those doubts encourage us to dig deeper into our creative process and can give birth to our best writing.

Finally, those demons can be our teacher. How? By helping us realize that we serve no one when we focus on those insecurities as the core of who we are, as writers or as people. Our writing is meant to be shared with others. It’s our gift. As the old saying goes we need to “feel the fear and do it anyway” knowing that we have offered the best we can in the present moment.

As one of my favorite spiritual authors and teachers, Marianne Williamson, writes: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”

So, let’s hear your stories. What are some of your fears and demons as a writer? And how are you claiming your own power as a writer?

Marielena still has her hair and teeth intact after writing her first e-book “Jane” available on Kindle at and at Apple’s iBookstore and for the Sony Reader

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2011 10:33 AM

    Ah, demons. We all have them. What a good idea to use them as teachers. Thanks, Marielena – as usual, a thought-provoking post.

  2. November 20, 2011 9:40 AM

    Thanks to you, A.S.J. Ellis, for liking my post all the way from Bristol, UK!

  3. Karrie permalink
    November 28, 2011 12:25 PM

    That is so spot on. Writing is one of the loneliest, heart-wrenching things you can do. “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” has long been a standard I raise in the face of my writing fears. The book of the same title by Susan Jeffers really helped me to see that not writing is allowing my comfort zone to build me up safe walls. But who wants to be safe right? Thanks for the excellent reminder.

  4. Marielena Zuniga permalink
    November 28, 2011 1:00 PM

    Thanks, Karrie, for sharing on our blog and for your kind words. Writing takes some courage, doesn’t it? Please visit us again!

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