Struggling With Discouragement and Self-doubt

This past month, I’ve been struggling with discouragement and self-doubt (alright, I admit, it’s really been more like several months now, on and off), so today you get to read what would normally be more along the lines of a journal entry…

The book writing process is a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be. I never knew there was so much to writing a novel that others will want to read and will enjoy reading. I want to do it right because there’s no point in wasting my time writing a book if no one wants to read it or those who try it are too bored to finish!

About sixteen months ago, the Lord blessed me with a new job. I finally got over feeling guilty for getting paid to do so little, reasoning that if they needed someone to fill this position, why shouldn’t it be me? So I jumped into learning the craft of writing. I believed the Lord provided this opportunity to give me focused, alone time for my writing, but I’m disappointed in myself because I was hoping I’d be further along than I am by now.

Since I’m a perfectionist, it’s challenging for me to like and accept the fact that it’s okay for the rough draft to be just that, rough. I edit and re-edit what little I write and therefore it’s an uphill battle to get very far.

I’m also very good at procrastinating when it’s something I dislike or find difficult, even though my head tells me I need to push through and just do it. I have, in the past, tended to give up when the going gets too hard, but I’m determined not to this time (because I can also be very stubborn 😉). And so I keep putting off the novel writing, because I feel stuck.

I have the bare bones of a story idea in my head, an allegorical sci-fi/fantasy that parallels the Christian salvation experience, where humans invite good aliens to indwell them (the alien is a substitute for the Holy Spirit) in order to rebuild their lives on another planet. They do this so they can be saved from a rebel alien species intent on destroying humans and the world. It probably sounds weird, but I can see parts of it playing out in my head like a movie. I think it would make a great movie, without being preachy, similar to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, except for adults not kids.

The part I’m stuck with is trying to fit my original story idea into the traditional story structure models. The self-doubt comes in because, at this point anyway, my story doesn’t seem to have the required points for each of the different stages. Sure, there are different ways to structure a story and I’ve tried a couple of different strategies, but keep coming up empty.

One method says there needs to be a hook, inciting incident, key event, first plot point, first pinch point, midpoint or turning point, second pinch point, second plot point, climax, and resolution, in that order. Another technique requires a hook, three disasters (each one worse than the one before it), and a resolution. Seems simpler than the 8-10 points some of the other models have but I still can’t come up with three suitable “disasters.”

Of course, then there’s also three-dimensional character development, character arc, theme, setting, pacing, and a myriad of other things to keep in mind, but first things first because I can’t put up the walls if I don’t have the foundation and frame done first.

So I wonder, is my story just not exciting enough to keep messing with, or have I just not brainstormed enough yet to spark the required creativity to come up with the necessary points (or disasters)? I’m afraid that if I try to make my story fit one of the prescribed models of story structure, I’ll lose my original story and the intended meaning behind it.

Anyway, I’m sharing my frustrations, doubts, insecurities, and fears with you and praying the Lord will give me wisdom, clarity of thinking, creativity, and words.

I know the verse that says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I know the Lord wants me to write, and I really feel like it’s a book, not just a blog.
I want to do what the Lord has put on my heart to do and I know the Holy Spirit is one of power and love and self-discipline, not fear and timidity, so I’m working to be consistent in my writing and trying to be bold and courageous, knowing He has a good plan for me and that He is fully able to help me accomplish that plan in my life.

I really believe all my books, when I finally get them written 😜, are going to be doozies. Why else would the devil be working so hard to confuse my thinking and do whatever he can to discourage me and make me want to give up?

That’s me being transparent with my latest struggles, assuring you I don’t have it all figured out yet. Prayers are welcome.

~~~

I started writing this post last week and then, a few days ago, I learned that my nice cushy job, with plenty of quiet time, is coming to an end because the boss has decided she needs my experience and expertise at a different location that’s busier. I should be flattered, but I’m not. I’m actually quite bummed about it. It wasn’t a request or up for discussion. I was told, via email, not in person, that’s what’s happening — end of story.

As a result, my writing time will be taken away. I will be in the middle of all the tension, turmoil, and chaos that gives the other location a less-than-desirable atmosphere and a bad reputation with the other departments. I’ll be thrown back into doing tasks that I haven’t done in over a year too (and haven’t missed at all!) so there’ll be a bit of a learning curve as I become familiar and comfortable with them once again.

The people from the other departments I work with are not happy about me leaving either. That’s sweet of them. I have a close-knit, wonderful bunch of co-workers at this facility and I’ll miss them.

Funny how, now, after the past few months blogs, I’m having to eat my words and put into practice the things I’ve been writing about. All my writings are from experience, but I was hoping I was through with some of these lessons and wouldn’t have to go through them again! I guess I must still have some learning to do. 😒

I have to remind myself of what I wrote in my post titled If God Cares, Why Do We Suffer Hardships? — this isn’t some sort of punishment for not being further along with my novel writing, since I know Jesus already took all the punishment for my sins (past, present, and future) on the cross, including my sin of procrastination. I’ve got to ask myself, though, is it possible I’m going through some discipline from the Lord for not using my available writing time as wisely as I should with this opportunity He provided?

I’m working to convince my heart again (or should I say, repeatedly) of the things I know in my head. I’m praying the Lord will stop this upheaval in my work life and I’d appreciate any prayers from you, too, but I’m also going to do whatever I can to fight this transfer.

I know this is such a minor problem compared to what some of you are going through, but God cares, even about the little things. Life is full of ups and downs, tragedies and triumphs, so I expected something to come along at some point to disturb the peace and blessings I’ve enjoyed over the past year or more. Just as He has in the past, the Lord will see me through this little squall too. By keeping my eyes on Him, rather than the waves threatening to throw me out of the boat, the ride will be smoother.

I want God’s will to be done, whatever that is, because His will is always better than mine. After all, it’s not all about me and He sees the big picture, where I can’t.

Thanks for reading my rantings! 🤗

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One thought on “Struggling With Discouragement and Self-doubt

  1. Pingback: Listening to Lies: A Downward Spiral | Called to be a Writer

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