Monday, March 12, 2012

How To Fight The Doubt Monster

After living through many emotion-draining months, and finally burning out, I pulled myself together and got back to writing. Only now I find myself facing the doubt monster. You know the ugly, hairy, big-tooth beast, who creeps up on you when you find yourself staring at a blank page, after a break from writing, and whispers in your ear, "You haven't written anything in weeks! You know you've lost your talent, don’t you? Don’t even bother to write anything today, you’ll only have to rewrite the whole thing anyway. Wait until you get it perfect in your mind!" Or words to that effect.

The only sure weapon I know to use when I need to smack the doubt monster over the head and send him on his way, is to refresh my mind with the craft of writing.  

We can never know too much about the writing craft, and I try to take time out several times per year to learn new writing skills and reinforce what I already know.

The past few days I've been doing just that. I've learned some amazing techniques which I can't wait to use. One of them is a way to increase my writing speed--which I'm dying to try out! :)

If you follow this blog, you'll know one of my great desires is to be among those authors who can write 2,000+ words per hour. This new method promises me the opportunity to do so.

I need to tweak the method a little so it fits me. If it works, I'll blog and share the method with you.

Meanwhile, I'd love for you to share your process of getting rid of the doubt monster.

Do you ever take hits from this negative emotion? How do you get rid of doubt? Does it affect your writing when it attacks?

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  1. I think we all suffer self-doubt as writers! I know I sure do. When the hairy beast attacks I write over him since I am too stubborn to quit, lol! My self-esteem sure takes a blow though. That's where a good CP and critique group comes in :) I say keep writing, Monique! Show that ugly, hairy, big-toothed beast you're the boss!
    Happy Writing!

  2. We all suffer from the loser called doubt monster.

    I wish I could give you some wonderful advice on how to silence that moron, but I can't because I haven't learned how to successfully silence that nagging, self-confidence stealing voice.

  3. Monique, I think maybe every writer goes through periods of self doubts. At one point I was sure I was the only one who felt those nagging thoughts. My critique partners will vouch that when I type The End, I used to be positive I'd never have another original idea!

    In my opinion, you're doing the right thing. Talk about your doubt, openly and honestly. I'll bet you find a lot of support! For me, self doubt lost some of its power when I started talking about it.

  4. LOL, Jennifer,

    Thanks for sharing. I love your advice. I'm going to get stubborn and show him who's boss!

    Tnx :)

  5. Hey Monique,

    Your post caught my eye. Me and the doubt monster are best buds these days. Often to the point that he stifles my creativity. What I attempt (key word) to do is flick him off my shoulder and write anyway. When I can managed to ignore him (which is hard because he gets loud), I often find that the writing starts slow and painful, but gains speed. Eventually I lose myself in it.

    So I say flick him off your shoulder and write anyway. Don't give in.

  6. I hear you, Brenda!

    It does have a way of robbing us of our self-confidence. The book I'm reading atm talks about writing without thinking or editing (something I find IMPOSSIBLE!) and trusting your subconscious to know what it's doing.

    I'm going to work on this, cos I think it could give the doubt monster a real run for his money!

    Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  7. I hear you, Brenda!

    It does have a way of robbing us of our self-confidence, doesn't it?

    The book I'm reading atm talks about writing without thinking or editing (something I find IMPOSSIBLE!) and trusting your subconscious to know what it's doing.

    I'm going to work on this, cos I think it could give the doubt monster a real run for his money!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!:)

  8. Hi, Jerrie,

    Thanks for the support. It's great to read that self-doubt can lose it's power!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Hi, Jo!

    Thanks for the advice. One of my friends says basically what you said. Just write and push through the stall, and it gets easier.

    I'll let you know how I get on :)

  10. Oh man that doubt monster--he's just gotta go! I have an encouragement file I keep all encouraging words and I also dedicated a page on my site:

    Surrounding myself with positive peeps also help.

    It's all about shutting the doubt up. Not easy sometimes but the more you say it aloud, the brain tends to believe it. So they say:)

  11. Hi, Martha,

    I'm with you on the encouragement file. I have a praise page on my website with some of the nice things people have said to me, but strangely, when the doubt monster rears his ugly head, I totally forget all about the nice stuff!

    Strange that.

    Thanks for dropping by :)

  12. Hi Monique!
    So glad to know you're back at the keyboard and writing up a storm. I also have to fight off the doubt monster, especially any time I begin a new book. I ask myself "Whatever made you think you could do this?" I ignore the fat little brat and keep putting words to the page until months later I write the end!
    I'm happy to write 1500 words a day - but you have a way to write 2k an hour? Wow.

  13. I think all creative people suffer from self-doubt. Look at artists and muscians with their many struggles--booze, pills, crack, and various forms of mania. Perhaps it's the dark side of creativity. When you aren't actively writing, your mind is. So time away from the keyboard is not always a bad thing. I try to combat self-doubt by working on my weak areas in my craft. Right now I'm focusing on word choice; I tend to use the same ones over and over. If we're growing as writers, we're also conquering the self-doubt monster. Will he ever go completely away? If he's pushing us to excell do we want him to? If he's crippling our creativity, then yes boot the bugger out the door.

  14. Sometimes, you have to let your creative side take a vacation.

  15. I believe the best thing to do is keep writing in some way or another. If you need to do a bit of rewriting later on because it's not your best quality work, well then that's okay.

  16. Hi, Lynne!

    So happy to see you here!! Yes, I've discovered a writing-speed secret, but I don't know yet if it'll work for me. I tend to find treasures that work for hundreds of people but not me, so I'm going to test it before I blab about it.

    So far I've tried just about everything to speed up, but have had no success in muzzling my internal editor.

    If this works I'll be blogging about it, so keep an eye out! :)

  17. Hi, Vonnie,

    Thanks for stopping by. Recently I read that there is a very high percentage of alcoholism in writers. That was news to me, but there you go.

    Self-doubt never encourages me to excel, it simply floors me! But NO MORE! :)

  18. Hi, Toni,

    You've hit on my weakness. I'm a perfectionist and can never move on until what I've just written is as perfect as I can make it.

    I'm learning to let go and just write. :)

  19. I wonder how he finds so much time to bother us. He really needs to get a new hobby. LOL.

    Love your post!

  20. LOL, Cher!

    Ignoring him doesn't work, so perhaps positive affirmations might send him packing :)


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