How to Silence the Voice of Doubt

Just write

Just fifteen minutes. That is all it will take. Fifteen minutes a day. A few thoughts on paper—just words.

Maybe this is what I should have been telling myself every morning. Maybe then I would have actually gotten past the nausea and the scrambled thoughts to just do this simple thing: write.

Instead I allow my mornings to evaporate, my afternoons become full of domestic chores or errands or other people, other things.

But in the back of my mind comes the voice I have learned to dread but also believe: “You have nothing to say. No one is interested in your words. You are irrelevant, middle aged, mediocre and plain dull. Why waste your time and energy on this project that no one—not even you—really cares about?” The voice of doubt.

This is not the first time I have heard this voice. The words may be different but the voice is undoubtedly the same.

There seems to always come a time for me when the boldness and bravado that comes with the beginning of a new venture wears thin. The flimsy skeletal structure emerges and the vast pockets of self-doubt, discouragement and fear show through.

My nature is to jump into things. Throw caution to the wind. My energy and passion blinds me (and others) to my own inexperience and ignorance. This is what I refer to as my “smoke and mirrors” phase. It takes a little while before I realize just how little I know and how over my head I am.

Ah. This is the critical juncture. What to do next?

Enter The Voice.

“You are a fraud. You have no business doing this. You will be found out and everyone will discover that you don’t know what you are doing.”

A few times I have somehow managed to push through and in doing so, I have silenced the voice.

But all too often I have given in, busied myself with other, safer things and allowed the voice of doubt win the battle.

It takes courage to learn a new thing, to try your hand at something you suspect you might fail at, to answer a call you feel completely ill-equipped to handle.

The battle is won when you simply take a step forward and say, “Here I am, Lord.”

  • Elizabeth

    This certainly resonates with me, Amy. Thanks so much for voicing what most all of us feel but are not willing to share. For the record…I see someone different when I look at you…not a fraud or a “smoke and mirrors” person. I see someone with great integrity instead. You are finding the courage everyday to be okay with who you are…fears and all. I like that and am encouraged by that! Keep on….

    • amywatsonsmith

      Thanks so much, Elizabeth. And I guess you probably know me better than most people–or certainly the longest (is it really 34 years?!?!). I appreciate your encouragement and love being a part of your journey!

  • Whitney Ruff

    Love you, Amy! This is a beautifully written, truthful account and I applaud your courage and hope you continue to silence the voice of doubt so that your voice of truth will continue!

    • amywatsonsmith

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Whitney.

  • Alison

    Amy, This has touched a place in my heart. I am sharing this with someone who so badly needs to hear these words from someone else other than me. Thank you for being a voice in our lives today. ♡♡♡♡

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    I once had an assignment editor that would say I need an expert on this or that, you are my expert today, go write me a story. I felt like a fraud too, knowing I really knew nothing about the subject I was writing about but something happened along the way. I became the expert. I dug into what I was writing, enjoyed the subject matter and did the research to become the master of the content. God has given you the gift of word, like a disciple he has also given you the power of the holy spirit to share the word. Amy you are the expert, now go write me something. :) recently posted…It no longer matters if you are Republican or DemocratMy Profile

    • amywatsonsmith

      Thank you, my friend, for these encouraging words! And I am writing something today–or at least getting some words on paper (or rather screen). Just do it!