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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Doubt Monster

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. The Doubt Monster (TDM). The evil creature that never completely goes away and loves to whisper all of your fears about your writing to you. I won't bore you with the things it usually tells me (cause I'm sure it has visited you before).

I was doing fine for a while. TDM seemed to have taken a leave of absence from my house. I was making progress with my neverending WIP. Then last week, it came back. Slimy little sucker showed up one night when I was happily typing away and stopped me cold in my tracks. And all of the old fears came flooding back.

It's not like I've had a really bad crit, either. My cp's are wonderful ladies and they always point out things that I could do differently or things that I need to work on, but I've never received one of those what were you thinking crits. But honestly, I keep expecting to get one every single time I post a new chapter for them to critique. Every time one of them posts their review of my work, my stomach does this sickening flip as I open it. Seriously. Then I let out a huge sigh of relief when I get to then end and find out that they don't think I should burn my ms.

So how do you fight TDM? How do you get past those thoughts that hold you back?

23 comments:

  1. I know TDM very well! I still need to learn how to fight my doubt but for the most part I just push through it. Somedays I'm really proud of what I've written and other times I don't feel so great about it, but when that happens I take a little break to clear my mind. Needless to say, my writing process involves a lot of distractions :D. Good luck with your doubting monster!

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  2. I love Anne Lamott's idea of the one-inch picture frame and viewing writing through it. When you come to your writing to "just" focus on a chapter, a scene, whatever, it is much easier to approach.

    Another thing for me, if I think of writing as word play, it intimidates me less.

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  3. I had that same feeling when my piece was up on Roni's blog yesterday. The doubt Monster has taken over last night. I'm not sure what to focus on and that makes things worse.

    So i hear you and I'm right there in your camp.

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  4. I fight TDM daily. He's one of those random monsters that requires some sort of spray I think.

    But really, I just try to remind myself of all I've learned, and that I can do this too.

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  5. I'm like Elana. It's a daily battle for me. I go back and read some of my older writing and have a good laugh. It makes me feel better to see how much I've improved, and it gives me hope that I can do this. Even if it's baby steps.

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  6. I think determination—an unwillingness to let go of the dream—is the only effective tool. If you can somehow take your doubts and frustrations and turn them into motivation, you'll get there! At least, that's what I keep telling myself every time the doubt monster sneaks up on me ...

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  7. Like everyone else said, it's an ongoing battle. For me, I focus on my characters. I never write a story if I don't LOVE the characters, or if they aren't so real to me that they talk to me constantly. (I know, my wiritng process is...special) So I believe in THEM. I may doubt my own skills to tell their story, but I never doubt their story. It's theirs, not mine. I'm just the one channelling it to the page. I may need to revise and revise and revise to tell it well, but at least it gives me the confidence to not want to give up on my whole MS.

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  8. The doubt monster haunts my every footstep and tries to dampen every success. I keep him at bay with the help of my blog friends - the support and confidence I get here, as well as seeing others succeed, help remind me that other people are fighting or have fought the same monster. He's a pretty common little guy, isn't he? Must be related to the one living in the closet. :)

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  9. Me and TDM are fighting right now! It's not very pretty either. I hate it when he comes about, but it happens, quite often. Maybe one day we will learn to get along. : )

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  10. Oh man, you described that feeling just before opening a critique so perfectly. I know that feeling well. And I have had some pretty bad critiques (they made me cry, I hate to admit. But my cps now are fabulous!)

    I'm not too good at combating TDM. It can get its hooks into me pretty deeply most of the time, with little or no prompting from outside sources, as well. I'm actually grappling with it right now.

    I think maybe have a dance party. That usually does it for at least five minutes for me :)

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  11. I cry a little then I get bitter. Just kidding, I do both those things in a micro second so it's really tough to notice. I pray then I give myself a pep talk. Try and find inspiration in life.

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  12. I have those same fears everytime too. It happened when I sent you my MS. I worried for days about what you'd say.

    I think fears and doubts are part of being a writer. We put ourselves out there with each and every word we put on the page. I just try to remember all the positive things in the critiques Ive received-- and the fact that no one told me to burn my MS. Thats a good start ;)

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  13. I do something stupid. I have a pretend conversation in my head with some awesome agent who totally wants to rep me and thinks I'm brilliant. This is of course, totally insane, but it makes me feel better.

    You're not alone. Sometimes I'm so crippled with doubt that I want to give it up and take up scrapbooking. Because I like stickers.

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  14. I really like that idea of the one inch picture frame and just viewing your work through that lens. I might try that as I'm not having much luck with TDM lately.

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  15. The doubt monster has been keeping me company ever since my POV issues were brought to light. However, I've told the doubt monster where to stick it. I am not waving the white flag, and neither will you.

    Just keep doing what you're doing and then one day we can both look at the doubt monsters and say, "See? We told you so!"

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  16. I turn TDM around on itself, making it serve a purpose. Doubt pushes us to do better. Write cleaner. Imagine on a grander scale. Don't battle the monster...make it your friend!

    And if you believe any of that crap...then I'm a better writer than I thought! :P

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  17. It's a "write" of passage. We all have it - I'm sure - even the best of writers - how could you not? We're human!

    I'm sorry you are feeling that though - it can be tough. I have my good days and bad days - I just keep truckin' along - that's all ya can do ;o)

    Love the new template - beautiful!

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  18. Oh, the dreaded doubt monster. I hate when it hovers at my shoulder. Usually if I ignore it, it eventually goes away.

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  19. Unfortunately this seems to be an unavoidable malady for writers. I battle it constantly as well. It always feels like a one step forward two step back kind of thing.

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  20. TDM is a creep! I know the slimy sucker all too well too... I'm pretty sure it makes its rounds to every writer at some point or another. I mostly try to ignore it.. but when I can't, I try to turn it into a positive to motivate me to become a better writer. Great post BTW!

    I have a blog award waiting for you on my blog.

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  21. My stomach still does that sickening flip too. I honestly don't think it will ever go away - and that's probably a good thing. That edge of anticipation, that trickle (ocean?) of self-doubt keeps me from getting smug or complacent. If I always know my work isn't as good as it should be, I'll always be working to improve it.

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  22. All the time. I know TDM very well. I guess as long as we picked ourselves up after his slap-down, we're doing OK. :)

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  23. I'll feel crappy and doubtful for a few days, and then I recall all I've accomplished with my writing. Also, I look at what needs to be done, create lists and personal deadlines, and I tackle my manuscript.

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