So it begins

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?”

“Bingo!”

“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.”

54 Comments

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54 responses to “So it begins

  1. I have a Nagging Doubt, but mine is invisible. I always know when it’s around though. Kinda keep us on our toes?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Raven’s bringing you a message.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We all have doubt. I love how you made it come alive, and how Lisa squashed it. Nice post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Trust me, Craig. You are an author. Don’t listen to that stupid bird.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love this, Craig. And take it from the Queen of Doubt, you are not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m suffering somewhat from this at the moment too. All writers are bound to experience self doubt and perhaps that’s a necessity evil to crafting a story. If we are too arrogant our muses would desert us! Great piece of writing Craig.

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  7. This was so much fun! It’s when I have the whole story ready to send that I hit the big doubt button and hate everything about it. Hope by the time you reach the final finish, you’re patting yourself on the back, happy with how brilliant you are:)

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  8. The doubt monster strikes when I begin a draft and then during editing. Sometimes I send a slayer after it, lol.

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  9. Oh, Craig, I love his post. Feeding doubt, lol. I reckon he should starve! 🙂 … I love what you did with Lisa too. Brilliant. We all suffer doubt at some point with our books. I’m terrified every time one of my books goes live. I should know better by now, but there you go. I need to get creative like you, lol … I wonder which of my characters could help me banish doubt 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent analogy, and fun post. Well, I know from experience the place you’re in with your writing isn’t that fun, but the post is. I love your writing cabin posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Listen to Lisa. I too have doubts but I’m learning to vanquish them.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m right there with you, Craig. When I sent Book 3 to the beta, I was feeling pretty good about it. Now, I’m thinking it needs to be tossed in the firepit – at least we could use the flames for Smores. Doubt visits all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think you sent Doubt my way because he’s been hanging out a lot lately. I guess Doubt visits all of us at different points of the creative process. I’m glad Lisa set you straight. And I love the casual vibe of the blog vs getting dressed up for an evening out. Cleverly done!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I suppose all artists have doubt about their work, Craig. I am sure it does help to have some doubt as it makes you re look at the story and improve it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Lol! This is a perfect expression of a familiar scenario. The “What made me think I could be an author?” statement hit me in the face. I often find myself thinking that and then I just go on to something else. Send the bird out to look for insects and carry on!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Been there, my friend. My “doubt” looks just like me, an evil twin bent at destroying my desire to write. But she never wins, though, my will is stronger than hers.😘 We all have our doubts. We just have to work through those moments. Happy Writing❣️

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is weird, but I’m kinda comforted that an established pro writer like yourself still gets visits from Doubt. He’s a fixture over at my place (and I suspect the main reason I’m having time Publishing my first book). Glad Lisa was there to set you straight!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Quoth the pencil-skirt, “Write some more.”

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. I like the makeup analogy.
    I gave up black clothes in August. Maybe you should give up Doubt. At least lock him out. You can watch him fly, and he can stare at you with his beady bird eyes from outside, where you can’t hear him.

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