Producer’s POV: Writer Fears – I’m Not Good Enough

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Isn’t that every writer’s greatest fear?

Producer Anne Marie Gillen recently posed this question to our Mastermind Group: “What keeps you awake at night?What are those nasty thoughts that keep playing around in your head?  The shoulda-coulda-woulda?”

It stimulated such an open and honest discussion about our communal fears and insecurities that we entrepreneurial artists all share but rarely give voice to, I thought I’d give it some sincere blog time.

“I’m not good enough” is often followed closely by its sibling: “What if my time has passed? What if I’ve blown all the opportunities that are realistically gonna come my way? Is it time for me to give up?

ed Vineyard at Arles The Vigne RougeBut then I remember – with hope – that no one paid any attention to Van Gogh’s art except his brother, Theo (and his wife). Van Gogh sold one painting in his lifetime: Red Vineyard at Arles (The Vigne Rouge) for 400 francs. ONE. And he painted non-stop, around the clock  – passionately, relentlessly, ceaselessly. It wasn’t until after his death when Vincent’s sister-in-law, Johanna Gezina van Gogh-Bonger, worked tirelessly to ensure his legacy was appreciated.

And what about John Kennedy Toole? Whose mother, who never lost faith in his talents, got her son’s first and only novel, the hysterical A Confederacy of Dunces, published almost twenty years after he wrote it – over a decade after his suicide.

It won the Pulitzer Prize.

Toole wrote: “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

When is it going to be your turn?

For those of you wondering this, I ask you: when will you devote the necessary quality time to your creative labors of love? I remind you of Mr. Holland’s Opus: sometimes we’re so caught up in the never-ending series of financial set-backs and energetic and focus challenges that life throws at us one after another that we forget how much our passion for our art can actually inspire those around us. Save us, in fact.

Don’t let your precious projects languish.


Don’t let your passion projects age out of being timely, relevant and marketable to the point where not even you are interested  in them anymore.


There are stories we each want to share. And whether your form of expression is the great American novel or a spec screenplay or a symphony or a painting or performance art – your original creative voice and unique perspective is likely what keeps you up at night (if it’s not being given expression).

If your talents aren’t sufficient – develop them. Get in the activity. There’s nothing to it but to do it.

If you hear snippets of dialogue your characters would say everywhere you walk and see thematic juxtapositions everywhere you look; if intriguing jobs, interesting architecture and peculiar inanimate objects get mentally filed away as potential character bios, settings and props – do yourself the favor and get it on the page. Do us all the favor – and get it up on a stage.

Mr. Holland's OpusKeep the faith.

Keep getting better.

Learn more. Constantly.




Raise the bar on your own talents and expectations.

Surround yourself with people who’re smarter and more successful than you are.

And just keep plugging away.

We need to hear your stories.

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2 thoughts on “Producer’s POV: Writer Fears – I’m Not Good Enough

  1. Heather HaleHeather Hale Post author

    I am SO GLAD, JD!

    That’s part of the reason I wrote it. The other part, quite frankly, was to remind myself, too, 😉 as I share all the same writers’ fears. We get down. We get back up.

    Don’t forget to celebrate the key milestones as they come your way. If you wait for the major script sale or blockbuster weekend results or the check or the Oscar – it’ll be a long, lonely, depressing journey.

    Stop and enjoy the sweet moments 🙂 a great pitch, requests to read your script, positive feedback, breakthroughs on the rewrite, knowing you made a reader laugh out loud or cry or be scared or surprised or delighted, your script moving up the ladder or being handed off laterally – every baby step matters.

    It’s a marathon, not a sprint – so don’t ignore the water breaks along the way!

    Hang in there!


  2. JD Spivey

    Thank you. I really needed this I been pounding away on 2 great scripts. They are already finished and I know they will not only entertain but educate as well. I too have felt like giving up and questioned whether I am good enough. This message has really inspired me to keep going. Thank Ms. Hale