WFMAD Day 29 – Slaying Demons of Doubt

I’ve heard from a number of you recently about the struggle to maintain your confidence during the writing process. Many (all?) of you are beset by doubts about your talent, your current project, the competition, the marketplace, your future, and pretty much everything related to being a writer.

So am I.

Frankly, it’s amazing any of us manage to get out of bed in the morning.

I think that being plagued by the Demons of Doubt is the hardest part of being a writer. (Please note – if you are writing, you are a writer. It doesn’t matter if you are published or not.)

So what are we supposed to do?

Ready… We’re just about at the end of the 2011 WFMAD Challenge. If you’re looking for a writing buddy to help you keep up your writing momentum until next year, post your email address and name in the Comments section. Get yourself a new, writing-only Hotmail or other address if you don’t want to publicize your real one.

Set… β€œIt is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.” Virginia Woolf

Today’s prompt: The Demons of Doubt will always sit on your shoulders. Sorry. It’s a law of writing physics.

You cannot banish them, but you can defang them.

Think about the best day writing you ever had; that perfect storm of creation during which you lost track of where you were and the passage of time – the best day when you lost yourself in the world of your novel. Write about that day in beautiful, loving detail.

That is your shield. You will wave this in the face of the demons when they rise up and try to infect you with their bile. To hell with them!

Stop thinking about the marketplace. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. It doesn’t matter if you have an MFA or not. It certainly does not matter if you think what you are writing is any good yet. (You are a WRITER, for the love of Pete! That means you’ll be REVISING. A LOT!!! Stop wasting energy judging your work and then beating the crap out of yourself because it sucks. Instead, use that energy to lift up the shield you just wrote. Fasten onto the memory of your best writing day. Then summon another day like that and get to work.

Scribble… Scribble… Scribble…

18 Replies to “WFMAD Day 29 – Slaying Demons of Doubt”

  1. I can relate about the whole demon of doubt, but lately I’ve been plagued by a different one. That bloomin’ muse of mine will not shut up. I appreciate the motivation, but dangit, it’s invading my dreams. I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and am startled that my barefeet are landing on cold tile rather than hot sand.

  2. There are no words to express how grateful I am for this post. Ok, there are, but I can’t think of any because my brain is fried from all the writing and then hating of my writing that I have done today. Shields up!

  3. Love this today. Thank you! I really want to write a book. I haven’t started yet. Mostly, I just blog. But I do love that. i know that I need to start the book, I just really need to decide and get moving on it. Thank you for the positive. I needed it.

  4. Hey Laurie!

    I don’t know where else to ask this, so I’ll just put it in comments, hope that’s alright!

    I’m a name nerd, I admit, and so I was wondering how you get the names for your characters? For me, they generally walk in with them, though for smaller characters I do have to search for them.

    anyway, I hope you answer my question!

  5. Makes perfect sense. We are writers and a whole boat load of other creative, imaginative people, too. Time to rock on! Our words were meant to share.

    Just believe.


  6. THANK YOU!!!!

    Virginia Woolf’s line about “the sense of impending shape” is perfect for what I’m working on right now.

    Now drinking my morning cup of Doubt-be-gone.

  7. Thank you, Laurie. Needed, needed, needed this. My blog tagline is a Virginia Woolf quote. She certainly understood the demons of doubt, and so do you. I know every writer who turns to you for inspiration leaves your blog inspired. What a lovely gift from you to us. Thanks. πŸ™‚

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