Do You Doubt Yourself? Life Lessons from Great Authors

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  • I ran across a description of one of my enemies… DOUBT! Author Jacqueline Winspear wrote: “Doubt. Was it an emotion? A sense? Or was it just a short stubby word to describe a response that could diminish a person in a finger snap?”

    And while I most times write my blog and how it relates to the art of writing, I had a thought.  THIS COULD APPLY TO LIFE [AND HOW WE LIVE IT]  AS WELL!

    I’ve written before about my being in good company.  Regardless of whether we writers are obscure or famous, we all doubt ourselves and our work.  What if Henry Charles Bukowski, or Ernest Hemingway, or John Steinbeck had let DOUBT win?  Put away their pen, dumped their scribbles into a shoe box and made a trip to the attic, got a day job and never wrote another word?  It doesn’t bear thinking about.  WHAT IF WE ALL JUST QUIT?  GAVE UP AND LAID DOWN.  BUT HUMANS ARE BY NATURE FIGHTERS, WINNING OVER SOMETIMES INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS!

    J. Michael Straczynski

    J. Michael Straczynski“When in ‘doubt’, blow something up.”

    (When in doubt do something nice for yourself.  Sit in the park and watch the world.  Make a list of ten things you like about yourself.)


    F.Scott Fitzgerald

    F.Scott Fitzgerald

    “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”

    (Life in general is swimming along, holding your breath and trying to do the best you can.)

    E.M. Forster

    famous authors, famous quotes

    “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”

    (So often words pop out of our mouths before we’ve thought it through.)


    Tapani Bagge

    Tapani Bagge

    “Everything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 
    And later on you can use it in some story.” 

    (Amen, amen to that!  and you’d be surprised just how strong and resilient you really are!)

    Maya Angelou  

    mayaangelou“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

    (There is no greater agony than bearing A DREAM inside you and not fulfilling it.)


    Elinor Lipman

    Elinor Lipman

    “Critics have been described as people who go into the street after battle and shoot the wounded.” 

    (People will shoot you when you’re down.  Get up, bullet wounds bleeding, and soldier on…don’t let the haters and the unenlightened change the way you live your life.)

    Leo Rosten

    Leo Rosten

    “The only reason for being a professional writer is that  you just can’t help it.”

    (Decide that you just can’t help being a better person, striving for a better you!)


    Let’s see …..when were the worst moments?  DOUBT clawing at me, whispering in my ear, crawling up my spine telling me that I’ll never make it, I’ll never finish a whole novel, that I don’t know the first thing about writing poetry.  Writing play scripts was relatively easy for me. After all I had been in theatre reading scripts for over thirty years.  And the stories simply fell out of the sky and into my brain when writing a script.

    When I could no longer resist the urgency of writing about the women who wait outside prison walls, I researched the length of the average novel; number of pages and words.  Yikes!  Over 300 pages and 70,000 words.  DOUBT was screaming in my ear: ‘you’ll never be able to write that many pages.’  ‘you’re a playwright; not a novelist’, ‘who do you think you’re kidding?’

    But I had a true story (several of them, in fact) and all I needed to do was flesh those stories out.  Write one page at a time.  WRITE ONE PAGE AT A TIME IN YOUR LIFE.  MAKE TODAY THE BEST YOU CAN MAKE IT.  THEN MAKE TOMORROW EVEN BETTER!  



    Trisha Sugarek

    Author, playwright, and poet, Trisha Sugarek has been writing for four decades. Her writing had focused on stage plays that ranged from prison stories to children’s fables. She has expanded her body of work to include two books of poetry, a group of children’s books and her debut novel, Women Outside the Walls.

    She has enjoyed a thirty year career in theatre as an actor and director. Originally from Seattle, she has worked in theatres from coast to coast and her plays have been produced across the country and abroad. Trisha lives in Savannah, Georgia with her two golden retrievers and her kitten, Wild Thang. She is currently at work on her second novel, Wild Violets.

    Released in 2012, a series of 26 “ShortN’Small” short plays, small casts which are used in classrooms in this country and internationally. Trisha has written 45 play scripts.
    Her children’s books are in AUDIO-books now for your smart phone or iPad. Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon is first and is available on, and

    She has published Monologues 4 Women, a collection of original, contemporary soliloquies for the strong female actor. Several are written specifically for the African-American actress. A chapter on the ‘dos and don’ts’ of auditioning and several classical monologues completes the collection.

    Trisha’s plays and books can be found on her website,

    For more information, please visit

    View all posts by Trisha Sugarek.

    What Do You Think?

    What Do You Think?