Shutting Up the Doubt-Demon

I’ve been struggling through this revision, and after over 6 weeks, I am approximately 40% done with it.

Yeah, I know, I’ve written most of a book in that time. This isn’t the first time I’ve rewritten this story. What is taking so long?

Other than the personal challenges we’ve been facing, the rewrite itself has been very challenging. Changing the point-of-view has been much harder than I thought, especially in the steamy scenes. These are some of the hardest for me to write, so having to tear them all apart and redo them from the ground up is extremely difficult.

Worse than that, however, is the crippling self-doubt.


The doubt struck me out of nowhere, sucker punching me when I wasn’t expecting it. As I was reading through a chapter the other night, it dawned on me how absolutely awful this story is. How there’s no market for it, and even if there were, there’s nothing special about what I’ve written.

Not sure if that’s true, or if it’s the crippling self-doubt phase of writing. This phase seems to be quite common among writers, but it also seems to bleed into other endeavors.


I follow a blogger who is working toward completing her first ironman. She struggles with doubt after most of her workouts. Yet, I’ve watched her make amazing progress. She admits her times are improving even if the workouts still suck.

But that’s something as a writer I don’t have: the ability to measure progress against an impartial metric. Did I run 3 miles in an hour? Thirty minutes? Fifteen minutes? Sure, I can tell you how many words I have on the page, but it’s not the same. 85,000 awesome words looks the same as 85,000 words that are more like brain vomit than storytelling.

I am trying to keep perspective. I don’t want this guy coming back and sabotaging the progress I have made.


I started writing in earnest my freshman year of college. After six years of writing and getting nowhere with it, I put writing aside for several years, came back to it briefly, and shelved it again. My doubt-demon kept winning.

Granted, this work was really awful. Or, maybe it wasn’t. I don’t know because my doubt-demon devoured it, and it’s gone forever.

So, no, this isn’t my last rewrite on this novel. Yes, it’s going to take at least one or two  more solid rewrites before this thing is ready for me to query.

That’s okay.

Plenty of crummy novels have been published, some have gone on to be bestsellers. Maybe mine will be crummy, too, but I can’t let the doubt-demon win again. Writing is something I’ve been working on over half my life. It’s time the doubt-demon shuts up, sits down, and lets me get this done.

Now, if only I can make him listen.


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2 thoughts on “Shutting Up the Doubt-Demon

  1. I don’t have an answer on how to get rid of the demon. The doubt demon lives with me everyday. He raises his head every time I read one of your blogs, or Kristen’s,Marie Grace’s, K. M. Weiland’s blogs. Your posts are so well written, entertaining, or insightful according to the subject you write about. When I read one I have posted, well I have to keep beating the demon telling him that maybe in time.
    Don’t let it lessen the joy storytelling brings or that writing brings you.

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