Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Power of Healthy Doubt

'Healthy doubt about the work can get you to look deeply at your writing, to ask questions about it that can lead to new directions that support and enhance it. Evaluating and assessing your work are essential, but you have to be prepared for the information. The trick is to take your doubt in stride and keep it in its place, not to take doubt's piece of the truth for the whole kit and caboodle. To take criticism and listen to the doubt without squelching the innate nature of creativity, which is playful, open, and soulful, can, at times, be a balancing act. Doubt becomes a hindrance when the questioning goes beyond the work itself and becomes an assault on the self. And not only an assault on the self, but on God as well, on the essence of creativity, and on the greater forces that are at play behind our writing. When doubting becomes hurtful to the work, the self, and your faith, it no longer serves you. To doubt your ability or value can temporarily sever the creative, generative force that is yours, where your essential self resides. It cuts off your connection.'

--From Writing and the Spiritual Life--Finding Your Voice By Looking Within.


At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're getting way to spiritual for me, John. But thoughtful.

Doubt, which is questioning yourself, is okay unless you allow it to deter action. I guess that's your message.

At 6:38 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'll accept spiritual but thoughtful. That's not a bad combination, really. And it's interesting that you of all people should sound off on this topic. Because I'm surely not alone in thinking that for many years you've functioned as something of an Old Testament prophet, thundering about various injustices. I must admit to being more of a New Testament guy myself, focusing on the possibility of redemption--even for the most egregious sinners, those folks about whom you've been writing for many years. But I suppose my real message is that life is all about balance--between Old Testament and New, between self-doubt and action, etc. In any case, I'm just pleased that you've stopped by and left your thoughts.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Daniella said...


Doubts for me never gets spiritual, no agony of self examination and maybe it should be. Instead I go through physical torture that seems to give me intense visceral pain, headaches, breathing fast, anxiety and nervous energy or total physical colapses. I have to admit that after all that physical drama, I do feel better. :)

At 8:24 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Whatever works. You can't argue with success.


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