Writer’s Doubt

Should I keep writing?

For the past two months, I’ve opened my file 
And scrolled through page after page
But the words I read felt flat and lifeless.
For the past month, the pieces of my story have felt amiss:
Too large, too aimless, too disconnected, too weak,

And the picture I’ve painted looks neither pretty nor meaningful.

For the past two weeks, my characters have been wary

When they meet me for mandatory morning coffee,
As though my insecurities have forever silenced their voice.
For the past week, I’ve been certain that I’ve done this all wrong,
The whisper of writer’s doubt a needling presence in my head,
Comparing myself to others, convinced that I’m a hack.

This morning, I stole away to a quiet place
And opened my file, perhaps for the last time.
My fingers grazed over the keyboard, my mind stalling as before.

My fear bloomed, waving the flags of past failures.
What if this story was a flop (just like that other one)?
Worse, what if I didn’t have it in me to create something new?

And then my eyes stumbled upon a random passage I liked,
As I read, my words opened a door back into my character’s world. 
When I stepped through, I relived his pain in that moment I’d written.

This character argued and growled; this was a person I’d created,
His world a harsh yet wonderful place because of me.
His story only accessible through my sheer will and imagination.

Abandoning fear for just that moment, I began to type…yes, I actually wrote!
Wonder of wonders, I helped my character experience the joy of a first kiss,
And he in turn helped me remember why I write:

Because my characters trust me.
Because their worlds provide me with a sense of home.
Because their stories reflect my deepest passions and my heart.

Because when I write, it is for them but also for me.
So no matter how deep the pit of writer’s doubt I find myself in, 
And especially when I do not live up to those lofty expectations,

The answer will always be yes,
I should keep writing.


Helen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves from the time she was a teenager. An author of both YA urban fantasy and NA contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of YA urban fantasies MYTHOLOGY, THE WICKED, THE ETERNAL, and NA contemporary romance LOSING ENOUGH, and like all writers, she experiences occasional writer’s doubt. You can find out more about Helen at www.helenboswell.com.