The Demon Of Self Doubt

Red Monster eyes and fangs

Self doubt.

Most of us know this demon far better than we would like. For writers, he’s that niggle at the back of your mind, the little negative voice in your ear, the shadow over all you do. He’s insidious and nasty, souring any sense of achievement and tempting you to consign everything immediately to the bin.

I haven’t been on here for a while. He and I have been having a bit of a to-do. You see my mojo went on sabbatical in December and took my self confidence along for the ride, leaving me to face the sharp claws of winter alone. Self doubt took full advantage.

Consequently, everything I’ve written over the past few months has been consigned to the recycling bin or hidden in the virtual drawer awaiting redrafting. Nothing seems to work. I have a head full of ideas, of characters clamouring for attention, but it all falls apart on the page.

Self doubt is really enjoying himself. He pokes me frequently. “That’s rubbish,” he says. “It’s boring and derivative. You’re better at procrastinating than writing. Why do you bother?”

It’s a good question. And he’s right, I’m very good at procrastinating. So I ask myself, why do I bother? Why do I write and think about writing and find characters feeding me information even when I’m trying to focus on other things.

I get the same answer that I always do.

Because I can’t not write. Because I can’t imagine not being immersed in other worlds, other lives, in all those stories flying around just waiting to be told. Even though it can be frustrating and lonely and antisocial and time consuming, I still want to write. Even when I think I don’t. Even when that pesky demon is hissing in my ear.

We all have things that we love to do, love to put time and effort into. Why should self doubt undermine that? Why should he stand in the way?

So. My mojo may not be back yet but at least she left me my Doc Martens. Time to put them on and assist that demon out of the door with a carefully placed boot!


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