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“Can I Really Write a Book People Will Want to Read?” What to Do About Self Doubt and Fear

book coach Lisa TenerSelf Doubt: The Plague of Writers

Do you sit at your desk when it’s time to write and berate yourself with self doubt and thoughts like, “I have nothing new to say that hasn’t been said 1,000 times before,” or, “Who am I to write a book?”

Just about everyone experiences moments of doubt when writing a book. For some people, it’s a passing mood. For others, self doubt can cause them to shelve a book for months or years–or forever.

Here are some of the many questions I’ve heard from aspiring authors over the years:

  1. “Am I really a good enough writer?”
  2. “Do I have anything new to say?”
  3. ” Will anyone ever buy my book?”
  4. “Am I enough of an expert?”
  5. “Should I just quit now?”

Have you ever asked yourself any of the these questions?

I asked a version of all five when I wrote my first book–and some of these still pop up from time to time.

And here are a few ways to answer the questions above:

  1. writing journalYes.
  2. Yes.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes.
  5. No way, Jose (did you used to say that as a kid or was that just a 1970’s Queens, NY thing?).

How You Can Write a Book People Want to Read

Okay. maybe you need a little supporting evidence and guidance to get on board. Here we go.

  1. “Am I really a good enough writer?” You may not be. That’s what editors are for. And a good editor can also coach and teach you to be a better writer.
  2.  “Do I have anything new to say?” My guess is that the true answer is “yes” and “no.” Even Shakespeare pointed it out that there’s nothing new under the sun. When you work with your “muse” – your inner creative source, you can find ways to make your wirting,s tories and wisdom relevant, tight and even playful. When you share true-life anecdotes, you’re bound to draw readers in–once you learn how to make your stories come alive with details.
  3. “Will anyone ever buy my book?” This is your leap of trust. I hold a strong belief that if we have a strong yearning to do something, the desire is there for a reason. Someone will read–and benefit from–your book or you wouldn’t feel a pull to write it.
  4. “Am I enough of an expert?” Maybe you are. Have you acheived the goals your readers want to reach? Have you solved similar problems to theirs? Have you helped others with such challenges? If not, consider interviewing experts for your book. And if you’re writing a memoir, congratulations–you have to be an expert on your life!”Should I just quit now?”
  5. “Should I just quit now?” In your heart of hearts, you already know the answer to this one. Yes–Quit!

Lisa, Did You Say, “Quit”?

Yes:journal pages

  • Quit putting it off.
  • Quit putting everything else above your book on your priority list.
  • Quit your excuses.
  • Quit beating yourself up.
  • Quit questioning and doubting yourself.

And just get writing:

  • Trust in your passion and inspiration.
  • Trust your inner muse to show up when you sit down to write.
  • Trust yourself to know when to get support, guidance or help.
  • And be grateful for the choice to write.

While planning a collaboration with my friend and colleague, Linda Joy, I came up with a small antidoate for those aspiring authors who question their ability to write a book people will want to read.

end writers self doubtI call it Your Sacred Permission Slip to Write Your Book, Shine Your Light & Transform Lives. Your Sacred Permission slip is part of my new Inspired Author Support Kit. The kit includes updated versions of the 7-days of book writing lessons you received when–and if–you signed up for my Free Author Toolkit in the past, plus:

  • A template to create your heart-centered book vision, intent and manifesto—so you stay inspired every support kit
  • Book Writing Starter Course: 7+ valuable lessons to help you get started with the right book.
  • A Message From Your Muse: Your Sacred Permission Slip to Write Your Book, Shine Your Light and Transform Lives.
  • Writing in the Zone (meditation audio)
  • Meet Your Muse (guided visualization audio)

You can get it here: Inspired Author Support Kit

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Anja Skrba says

    Doubting yourself because of fear is the worst…but I guess that’s just something everyone experiences when writing a book – those small moments of doubt.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Yes, Anja. Even experienced writers often have moments of self-doubt. If you are prepared for it with strategies, it makes it that much easier to get past it.

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