Dealing with Doubt: A List of Writerly Reassurance, by Jeanne M. Curtin


I was sitting at my desk, ready to write, when an unwelcome visitor, Doubt, barged in. The longer Doubt stays, the bigger and louder that visitor grows. So, I managed to push Doubt out the door by coming up with this list of Writer Club clues. A list to reassure myself that I am, indeed, a writer.

Are you one, too?

  1. Libraries and book stores are magnets.
  2. Your heart smiles when a book is in hand.
  3. Idea catchers are close by at all times. Notebooks, recording devices, cellphones, etc. One never knows when the best ideas will surface.
  4. If you’ve said more than once, That would make a great story. And this counts whether you’ve said it out loud or to yourself. Which is a perfect segue to clue number 5.
  5. If you talk to yourself. When characters come to life, they’re like different voices inside of writers’ heads. And sometimes, if we get a little stuck, talking to our characters, asking them questions, can help us get unstuck.
  6. You enjoy a good word game. Like Scrabble, UpWords, WordBrain App, etc. Writers love juggling, finding, and creating words. Word Nerds are we.
  7. Though you may be up and about by five or six o’clock in the morning, you may still be wearing PJs at two in the afternoon. My office is conveniently located right down the hall from my bedroom.
  8. You enjoy the idea of eating letters. Like alphabet cereal, soup, or crackers. After all, you are what you eat. Letters form words, words form sentences, and sentences form stories.
  9. You surround yourself with other writers. Your friends list is growing with others afflicted with the writing bug, too. You join critique groups and professional organizations.

Number 10 was intentionally left blank for you to fill. Please leave your clue in the comments below. 

And for the illustrators out there, what reassures you that you are indeed an illustrator? 

Jeanne M. Curtin is a member of SCBWI, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge, Rate Your Story, two critique groups, and volunteers at an Elementary School Library. She mostly works on picture books, but has a new adult novel in the works, and has self-published Brave, a young adult novel. She has a 21 year old son, and lives with her fiance in the Harrisburg area.


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14 Responses to Dealing with Doubt: A List of Writerly Reassurance, by Jeanne M. Curtin

  1. Thanks for the fun list! My #10 is…
    Though I can absolutely and completely lose myself in a movie, there is always that obsessively analytical part of my brain where I’m noticing the red herrings, memorizing the techniques for building tension, considering the possible endings, asking “what if the writer had…” etc.

    • jeannecurtin says:

      Ha 😊 I love it, Joanne! I find myself doing that more and more, too. Even with TV episodes.
      Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Dana Kramaroff says:

    Lovely inspiration! Thank you!

    • jeannecurtin says:

      Glad you’ve found inspiration, Dana. Thanks for reading my post.
      Happy creating 🌼

  3. Laura Selinsky says:

    I love your list- especially the alphabet soup.
    My #10 is finding joy in my high school writers: the striver who wrote a 300 p. novel; the knife-sharp poet whose verse was celebrated at Philadelphia’s MLK Day; the homeless student whose letter won the state in a Library of Congress competition. If my students don’t give up, then I can’t.

    • jeannecurtin says:

      Wow. As I read through your response, Laura, I got chills. And then chills upon chills. Powerful stuff. Thank you so much for sharing. You and your students have truly inspired me 💕

  4. rosecappelli says:

    A great post, Jeanne! I could identify with just about everything, I think (guess I am a writer!). My #10 would be paying attention to the rhythms heard in music and in the natural world since writers use words to create rhythm.
    P.S. I decided after all to go to the retreat, so hopefully I will see you there!

    • jeannecurtin says:

      Thanks, Rose. And you are most definitely a writer.
      Listening to rhythms. How interesting and true. And something of which I’ll be more cognizant.
      And knowing you, how fitting an answer 💕
      Glad you’re going to the retreat. Unfortunately, I’ve decided not to go this year. I hope to see you at another event soon though.

  5. Very nice post. I think I must be a writer! My #10 is that I find every excuse to give someone a picture book as a gift

    • jeannecurtin says:

      Thank you, Heather, and I know you must be a writer. I love picture books!!!! And so love your #10 😊❤️
      All the best,

  6. Jennifer Raudenbush says:

    Great article, Jeanne! You hit the nail on the head 🙂

  7. Becky Scharnhorst says:

    Loved your post, Jeanne! I found myself nodding along to every item on your list. My number 10 is that when I’m excited about a story I’m working on, I find it nearly impossible to think about anything else. Related to that, I can ponder a particular sentence or word choice for days, weeks, and even months!

    • jeannecurtin says:

      Hi, Becky. And thanks!
      I’m nodding to your number 10. 😊My mind is constantly working and reworking stories, too. 💕

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