He stares at me through obsidian black eyes. Eyes as black as his heart.
How I allowed this creature to live in my writing cabin is beyond me. My sanctuary. My place of creativity and fun, invaded by a malignant presence of his kind. Stealing my joy, causing me to hate my own stories.
His name is Doubt, and he seems to show up about this phase of every book.
He sets his wings and glides to my desk
I opened the Serang manuscript and started my word searches. My critique partners made sure I cleaned up all my stupid errors. Doubt paced back and forth across the desktop, knowing, waiting.
It wasn’t until I got to its/it’s and started finding mistakes, then he croaked out his evil laughter.
What made me think I could be an author?
“Hey! You are an author.” Lisa entered the room. She wore a pencil skirt with blouse and jacket. “This happens to you with every story. I don’t know why you let him get to you like that.”
“I start out with such good intentions. The story is fresh and exciting. I’m into it with new characters, settings, problems to solve, even enemies to face. It’s even exciting to reach the end. Then I get to this phase, and it all seems to suck so bad.”
“That’s because you’ve mentally finished the story. You’ve carved something from raw stone, and you’re proud of it. Then you realize a bit of sandpaper and polish would make it so much better.”
“But, I thought it was beautiful.”
“It is, but it isn’t finished until you polish it up a little. It’s like using makeup.”
“I don’t use makeup.”
“It’s an analogy. You write them all the time, so you ought to be able to follow one. Your blog is like lounging around the house and watching TV, maybe picking up some sticks in the yard. It’s you, and you have a casual vibe going on. A book is like going out for a big evening. You want your hair, nails, and makeup right. Maybe you spring for a new dress, which is like your cover art.”
“Okay. I think I’ve got it.”
“You may not like the work that goes into it, but you’re going to like the reception when you finally get to the party.”
“So if I want my book to go to the party, I need to put the work in so it looks and performs its best?”
“Okay, I’ll do the work… and he still sucks.” I pointed at the raven.
“He’s a bird. You’re putting your own emotional baggage onto him.”
“He wears it well, though.”
“Basic black is always in style.”
“Maybe I should take a lunch break.”
“Nope. You’re looking for any reason to put this off. I’ll make you a sandwich and bring you some of those new M & Ms you liked. The sooner you get Serang ready, the sooner you can get to the new story I’m in. I’d feel a lot better if you got that far before I have to leave to pose for all the promotional artwork.”
“Fine! And bring something for the raven. It’s rude to eat in front of him without offering him something.”