The trial is the mask triumph wears until we are ready to receive what has always been ours. We live in a world where faith has lost its meaning, its vigor, its gloss. Woe to those who walk the Earth when faith has lost its shine. Who are we when faith has lost its power? Dare us to believe that something we cannot see is still ours. I dare you to believe that what you cannot see is still yours. What you cannot taste is still flavor. What you cannot hear is still music. We are far too busy chasing opportunities that aren’t ours to chase, forcing connections and misunderstanding the link between pain and growth. So we miscarry our blessings because of the labor pains. Too caught up in disappointment and heartache to endure the struggle long enough to find the strength. Too physical to see the spiritual. Too impatient to wait for what has not yet come. Too anxious to see that everything we are trying to be we already are and that everything we need, is already ours.
Are you speaking your goals into existence or waiting for a miracle to happen? You are the miracle! Speak it. Believe it. Act on it. Receive it. Thanks Sue for having me.
This picture was taken last year at a restaurant in Atlanta. I had just finished a book signing for the release of Book 3 in The Stella Trilogy and was to act in the stage-play Blakk Amerika: From Prophets to Pimps the next day. Hungry, me and two sisters decided to sneak off from the group and grab a bite. This is me posing with the daughter of one of the sisters with me.
This picture is significant because it is at this dinner that I explained my vision for my next book, Nora’s story. The ladies were encouraging as we discussed our thoughts on The Harlem Renaissance movement and the ideas for the book. I wanted to create an environment where the character would, literally, interact with history. What if you were seventeen years old and had the chance to be in the presence of such persons as Langston…
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John, I am humbled. I am also sure that you will no doubt overcome! I am honored that you were moved by my words and I look forward to reading more from you!
“As I sit back and I observe I have come to understand that doubt and fear is a major contributor and enemy of the writer. It creeps into the mind, seeps into the soul and gnaws the bone. It gets down so deep inside the author that it bleeds through the pen and taints the words. Next thing you know every time you look up that writer is not a writer anymore. That writer is a shadow of his former self, wallowing in self-pity and doubt. That writer has allowed fear to creep in and to steal his gift.”
~ Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Yecheilyah Ysrayl is a blogger, author, poet, and book reviewer who lives and writes in Louisiana. These words were in a post I received this week as a subscriber to her newsletter. Apparently, these words resonated deeply with me.
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Feeling doubtful? Read this! Post Quote: “…the impostor syndrome is actually associated with high-achieving people! If you have those feelings, you may actually be more successful than you perceive yourself to be.”
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Check out this excellent reminder that we all have doubts about our writing at times… they get busy and get writing! ❤ Click the link below to read more.
We all have doubts. In an article I wrote some years ago, I mentioned one reason writers might feel self-doubt more than others. Everyone experiences self-doubt now and then. It’s part of being human, and writers are not exempt from this. In fact, I would go as far as to say that writers probably experience…
- Belief – We have no faith. Period. We invest more in our problems than we do in possibilities. We spend more time thinking about the bad stuff before the good stuff which ultimately leads to stress. In addition, our unbelief tends to lead us to wait until we get what we want before having joy. Why do you have to wait until you get the job to appreciate the job? Why wait until you are acknowledged for a skill to nurture or appreciate the skill? We wait when we should rejoice on the way. Rejoice during the journey, not just afterward.
- Fear – Fear is the biggest reason for doubting because there is no fear in faith. Our fears vary. Could be the fear of rejection from others or a fear of failure. In any event, it is not something that we so easily notice or that we even care to admit to but it’s there. At the root of not doing our best is the fear of something. I remember when I was a little girl and I got into this fight. I hurt this person so badly that I didn’t want to fight anymore. I literally restrained myself from it. I didn’t take up for myself sometimes. I let people pick on me, and push me around.
My secret wasn’t that I was afraid to fight. My secret was that I was afraid of my own strength. I didn’t want to hurt anyone and I was afraid that I’d do just that. Sometimes our fears are not because we know that we will fail (although that too), but that we will succeed and what that will mean for our future, for with great authority comes greater responsibility. What will it mean for us to be who we were ordained to be? For many of us, the answer’s a frightening one. But look at it this way: You cannot turn a light on and off simultaneously. You have to either have the light turned on or turned off because light and dark cannot coexist. Likewise, fear and faith cannot coexist. You will either be fearless or you’ll always be afraid. Afraid of what others will say. Afraid of what others will think, and afraid of how your light will make others feel. That’s a terrible way to live.
- Disagreements – Also known as criticisms, one major cause of doubts comes from disagreements among others. Who remembers the Ach Conformity Experiment? A series of studies performed in the 1950s that demonstrated the power of conformity in groups. These are also known as the “Asch Paradigm”. In one such experiment, there were five men who were to perform a very basic task: Match the line on the left with the line on the right. It was something your three-year-old can do. Four of the men were agents, people in on the program. They matched the line on the left with the incorrect line on the right. The subject knew they were all wrong but because they were the majority he chose the same wrong answer.
Even though he knew everyone’s answer was wrong, because they were all on accord and he wasn’t he doubted himself and chose the wrong answer. Remember, let no one make a prey of you through philosophy and empty deceit. But as it happens, as soon as the majority shake their heads and say to themselves, “How foolish of us”, that’s it. One minute you’re confident and hopeful and as soon as the slightest wind of a disagreement comes along we are done. Boom. Over. Joy depleted. Spirits crushed. Dreams deferred. However, remember this if you remember nothing else: Beware when all men speak well of you. Every great person who has ever stood for something was mocked, laughed at, teased, and assumed to be foolish by his or her contemporaries.
- No Support – Usually from feeling isolated, almost just as bad as disagreements among others is no support at all. This can leave a big gaping hole of doubt in our minds. The feeling is so great that it can lead to sadness and depression. This causes a doubt that can be very dangerous as we can miss our purpose putting off what we were built to do because a lack of support gave the perception that it was not for us at all. The truth is that it just wasn’t the right time. Why wasn’t it the right time? Well, that depends but it could be that you were not in a place to do it. Could be that you were not mature enough to carry it through. There is always a reason for why things happen in our lives and if we stop trying to change what we have no control over we won’t be as stressed. As Einstein once said, “I am thankful to all those who said NO. Because of them, I did it myself.”
- Mistakes – A big cause of doubt is failing. Mistakes leave huge stains on our spirit and sometimes cause us to give up altogether. It also ceases us from trying again or thinking we had it in the first place. The truth is that sometimes you have to be torn down to be built back up. Remember that it is not being knocked down that makes the difference but staying down. I believe the man who has fallen seven times and stood up eight is a greater man in the end than he who has never fallen.
I decided to take a much-needed break from revising my manuscript and sat down to watch a couple episodes of Fringe (now my new favorite TV show. Yes, I know, it came out years ago but I’m new to this). After retiring to my bed and scrolling through Pinterest I was forced to deal with the thought that has been lingering in the back of my mind. The thought was doubt and as I struggled to ignore it, I knew eventually I’d have to face this beast, stop being lazy, and rid it from my consciousness.
As I sit here, typing this, I know I would reread it gazillion times before drafting it in WordPress. I will then preview it a billion more times when it’s drafted in WordPress and I’ll be sure to choose the Justified button for my paragraphs so they look nice and neat. If it’s anything like my usual posting, it’ll be revised in the draft five to six times before I actually push publish and even then I’ll go back to reread it as if I’m not the person who wrote it. I’ll read it on my laptop and then again on my mobile just to make sure it’s formatted correctly. I’ll probably then proceed to share it on social media and go look at it. You know, just to see if it looks right.
If this sounds a bit OCD, then diagnose me now because it’s not an embellishment. Yet despite how hard I strive to ensure the proper crafting and delivering of content online, I sit here and find myself the victim of “what if?” The truth is that I am on the brink of stepping outside of that comfort zone and I’m starting to wonder if I’m good enough. Will the confidence I know I need as a writer be mistaken for arrogance?
Can I be trusted with the responsibility of giving advice or do my readers scan my posts and think that I’m a fool? Yes, I know these thoughts aren’t true and yet, I found myself embracing the possibility that maybe I look silly writing about things that others are so much more knowledgeable of. I sit here and I publish a post with the passion and the authority necessary to own it and yet, I cannot help but wonder.
But then I got a wake-up call. One from Emily Dickerson and one from Verily Mary.
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
I realized as I read these words, that if I am to accomplish anything of significance at all, then I must buckle down, rooting myself in hope, the songbird of my soul. As one of my sister’s so eloquently put it, “Hope is your anchor. Stay tied down in your faith.”
Additionally, this was solidified by a post I ran across prior to writing this post. As I stated, I was scrolling through Pinterest and discovered the blog of Verily Mary. Specifically, her post on:
…brought me back. I’ve always published posts on this blog with a certain level of ownership and I realized after reading Mary’s post that it’s not about being puffed up and proud (which I make a consistent effort to stay away from at all cost), but only that writers must own their writing with that same level of authority and devout seriousness or we won’t make it.
Tonight I was reminded that if you know you put your all into something (not just your C work, but your genuine all), then there is no need to feel shame. Mary’s words, like my sister’s, spoke life and I offer them to you with the hope that they’ll inspire you the same as they inspired me. Hold onto Hope and never give up:
“I say all of this to say be gentle with yourself when you write online. Aim for excellence while understanding that you are a different beast altogether when it comes folks like you writing in the blogging world. Your writing may be just as meditative and self-reflective as it is logical and analytical. And just because your type of brand or niche is not as saturated or mainstream does not make it less valid. Keep playing your heartstrings and continue to let their songs spill over on your blogs. Whether 10 people or 1000 people hear them, they still make a sound. And in the end, that is what truly matters.” – Mary, Writer, Blogger
Why push myself? I do what I do not because I think I’m somehow better than anyone else. I do not immerse myself into work because I think I have it all. I know that even in what I know, I know nothing. I work hard not because I’m perfect. I’m loyal not to gain praise or approval. I do not publish Self-Pub tips and promote authors because I’m someone special. Do not speak with such integrity and confidence because I’ve made it. Most of what I post terrifies me. Who am I to advise? To instruct? To teach? Who am I? Little ole me with less than 1,000 subscribers, barely any reviews and even less social media followers? Who am I to speak as I speak and say the things that I say? I do what I do because faith is stronger than doubt, just as love is stronger than hate, courage more potent than fear, and light stronger than darkness. My faith pushes me to write without fear of judgement and to speak the truth even when my voice shakes.