Writerly Wednesdays

Values and Doubt: The Writer’s Glory

My daughter searched her purse, pulled out her phone, and glanced through her messages. “Ah, here it is. I wrote it down last night.”

I set down my fork and sat back. “Lay your wisdom on me.”

“Okay. It just seemed like something you might need during hard times.”

“Interesting. Sure, let me hear it.”

She glanced over her screen. “I’m not sure how helpful it is.”

“Won’t know until you tell me.”

“Because sometimes thoughts that come at night aren’t always brilliant.”

“And sometimes they are.” I sipped my iced tea. “But we’ll never know until you tell me.”

“The trouble is, I don’t know if anyone will like it.”

I mindlessly tapped my finger on the table. “You know, if you don’t tell me, I’ll put you in a blog about how to prolong tension in the reader.”

“Don’t put me in a blog about tension,” she said, pressing her phone. “Okay, here it is.”

I studied her across the table.

She said, “Whenever you doubt yourself, return to your values.”

I stared. “What?”

The person who sat with us said, “Can you say that again?”

The people at the nearby table pulled out their phones. “What did you say?”

The waitress pulled out her notepad. “Can you repeat that?”

Security cameras turned our direction and motored up and down as if nodding.

“Oh, sure. Whenever you doubt yourself, go back to your values.”

At that moment, I knew I’d been doing life wrong. I was swept up in trying to bolster my self-esteem through friends, accomplishments, and material possessions. I’d even attempt to match my shirt with my shoes. And still, I feel like a lousy writer. Daily, I think my work will never measure up. I sense the grind is too hard for such small returns.

Inside are two competing emotions. I doubt myself. And I have values. And when I look into the mists of my soul, my doubts shift as if they sit on sand. My values, though, are immovable, based upon a Solid Rock that never moves.

Sure, I don’t think I’m a good writer. And yet, my values are important enough to pen, worthwhile enough to take the time to learn the craft of writing, and crucial enough to spend a lifetime crafting.

So, when you doubt yourself, go back to your values. Your perspective will change and give you the courage to do the hard thing for which you are called.

Not all views expressed are those of every member of ICW.


  • Peter Leavell

    Peter Leavell, a graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and a MA in English Literature, was the 2011 winner of the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author, along with multiple other awards. An author, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband, and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com

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