Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Doubts are in the air. There have been many people talking about the ways that writers can combat them. Maisey Yates compares them to crows, big ones that are just waiting to peck at you. There are certainly more than enough reasons to doubt. When I'm all alone in front of the screen, the crows seem menacing. Writing is lonely indeed. Some days the crows seem more like vultures.

They circle around overhead as I wander the wilderness of my manuscript. Their very presence seems confirmation of some weakness that I hadn't noticed before. They drift ever closer as the day goes by. Even if the word count is getting larger, they taunt me. They aren't the right words. The words aren't good enough. The dialogue is stilted. The pacing is off. The characters are boring me, who will ever want to read this?

Thoses big black birds peck away at our confidence. It's so hard as writer to keep going with so little feedback. When you do get feedback, it isn't always what you'd hoped for. There are harsh critiques, revisions, maybe even a rejection from a publisher. Writing is pouring your mind, heart and soul into a story knowing there will be rejection. Not everyone will like the story. Perioid. For sure. For every wildly popular author, there are groups that hate that author's work. Someone is going to hate that thing in my novel everyone else loves.  That will hurt.

And then the scavengers come back, drawn by the smell of blood. Like wild animals, they can sense my weakness and there they'll be ready to pounce on me. In the past, I didn't have the courage to face them down. Rather than accept that I might not be good enough, I just stopped trying. I was busy doing other things and just didn't get back to the story that was attracting those scary birds. I came out of it whole, but what I gave up was the thing I most wanted: to write.

So, as they circle over head I'll keep an eye on them, but this time I won't turn and run.


  1. Hi Julia,

    We all are with you on doubts and crows! Hang in there!

  2. It must be something in the air, I'm having major wobbles today. Just got to write through it I suppose! Keep writing. Mx

  3. Hang in there Julia! I'm so glad that you're at a point now to face them down :)

  4. Nas- I'm glad that you're toughing it out with me. It'd be so much harder to do it alone.

    Morton- I think post-holiday it's always a bit harder. And you're right we just have to keep writing.

    Lacey- Me, too. I'm not especially brave by nature, but since we're all walking along together it's a bit easier. Plus way more fun.

  5. Yay for you, Julia! I have a scarecrow I put up periodically on my blog for when the crows are circling. Or I whine to the CPs. :-) Best thing I know for crows is writing and totally losing yourself in a story you love. Either that or a VERY LARGE chocolate martini and a movie. :-)
    Oh and the other thing I find comforting is to know that everyone feels them. You're not alone!

  6. The best comfort is being surrounded -- at least virtually -- by everyone facing down the same fears and worries.

    You know, I've never had a chocolate martini before. I'll have to check out if they have special crow banishing powers.

  7. Go for it, Julia! These crows are always hanging around but you hold your ground and you'll find they are more scared of you.