Thursday, 15 July 2021

The Rubber Ball of Doubt

This week I had a serious dose of the Doubts. It’s a feeling I and many writers (especially pre-published) know well, as it happens again and again. In my mind doubt is made of rubber and like the song says, ‘Rubber ball keeps on bouncing back to me.’

One day I’m full of confidence, sure that I’m a good writer, convinced that my latest WIP has commercial appeal, a unique concept and a strong voice and plot. Optimistic that if I keep honing my craft and keep submitting that one day it’ll happen, I’ll get picked up and get my book in print.


The next day I’m anxious and depressed mess as doubt crashes my positive party. Suddenly it’s, ‘My writing isn’t good enough.’ ‘My writing will never be good enough.’ ‘My extra issues that my dyslexia pose are getting worse raising the hurdles higher and unsurmountable.’ The universe and time are conspiring to make sure that my dream of becoming a published author is never happens’.

So why is it that one day I’m so optimistic and the next I’m full of pessimism? 

It only takes one thing, like a…

  • A rejection that I’ve not indigested the feedback. (Once I read the comments and understand them, usually I can throw thee rubber ball away again.)

  • A long-list missed.

  • A spelling or grammar mistakes which I have found after I have pressed send on the submission.

So why does it get me so down with doubt?

  • All the voices of all the people that have told me am not allowed to write because of my dyslexia comes flooding back into my write telling me ‘ I can’t write.’ Then all the other voices telling me what I can’t do because of my dyslexia join the party too.

  • Knowing that NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY, my spelling isn’t getting better, and I will never be able to get my manuscript void of all dyslexia-isums. And despite being far away from the bread line that I can’t afford to get every submission copyedited.

  • The niggling worry that despite the current move of inclusivity within the industry for diverse authors, including neuro-diverse writers, that although there are other dyslexic writers that are successfully published, that my dyslexia is pretty bad and maybe I’m just too far up the spectrum to get published.

So when all these doubts pile up, I have to pull myself up. I look at things logically, and see that the facts haven’t changed. I’ve have still had competition long-listings, short-listings and wins, which seems to confirm I’m not totally bad at writing. I still get more bespoke responses from submission that standard ones. I’m still working and improving my craft. I’m still dyslexic, but the industry is make positive steps to try and make it easier for people like me to get published.


So why when I tell myself all of these things and throw that ball of doubt away, does it always come bouncing back with more velocity?

I don’t know why the rubber ball of doubt seems to hit harder each time, but I do know this; The children’s writing & illustrating community is so supportive of each other, that when I get too tried to throw that rubber ball away, someone, will say, ‘hay, take a break,’ and they throw the ball away for me instead.

So sometimes I get down, but I love writing, and I’m surrounded by wonderful supportive people, and we all help one another when that ball of doubt land in our court. So writing onwards I go…


  1. We’ve all been there. Glad you are ready to bounce back 😘

    1. Hi Susan, thank you. it is reassuring to know that everyone has times like this.