Care and Feeding Of Your Doubt Monster

Another Friday has arrived! Yay! It’s still not to late to enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card over at Night Owl Reviews!  Before I talk about my favorite little pest, I have one announcement:

I have a release date for The Undead Space Initiative July 2012. Once I have the cover, I’ll share it.

So back to The Doubt Monster. We were watching a movie not too long ago. Yes, he likes TV and since he’s always around, why can’t he have some fun?

Anyway, the movie was Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. It was trippy story about a writer who’s visiting Paris with his fiancée and her parents. It’s immediately obvious that they want different things in life.

He wants to walk in the rain. She thinks it’s silly and unneccessary. He’d like to move there and write his novel. She wants to stay in LA (where he can continue to write movie screenplays).

While sitting on a step at midnight, pondering his life, a 1920’s car arrives and whisks him off to a party attended by famous intellectuals and writers like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

What does this have to do with The Doubt Monster? Well, everything! That writer’s Doubt Monster was so powerful, he could make time travel possible.

Obviously, my Doubt Monster is a tad bit jealous. He has no such abilities.

I won’t tell you what happens next in the movie. You will have to watch for yourself.

Back to the topic at hand. Now that we’ve been together for a while, I’d like to offer these tips for making the most out of your monster.

1. Ground rules are a must. Establish parameters of when and where The Doubt Monster is allowed to influence you. My monster is not allowed to speak to me when I’m writing my first draft. Period.

2. Do not ignore your Doubt Monster. Seriously. If you try to suppress the monster, he or she will get back at you – big time. See above – you don’t want the DM to mess with  you when you should be creating.

3. Cultivate confidence. Make yourself feel good. Compliment your efforts. So rather than saying – “my writing is total crap.” Instead say – “this isn’t so bad” or even better – “this is pretty damn good.”

4. Reward good behavior. See #1 – For his patience, I let Doubty play when it’s time to revise. I let’em rip. If he’s been really good, I may even ponder a few concerns at night (after the lap top is off) and right before I fall asleep.

See, he does serve a useful purpose. He can guide me when I know something is missing or not quite right. The trick is to be confident in yourself. Be the Author Goddess! It’s your world, your rules.

And if your Doubt Monster gets uppity, just watch Midnight in Paris and remind him that until he can manipulate space and time, he’s nothing special!

What are your “monster” rules?

26 thoughts on “Care and Feeding Of Your Doubt Monster”

  1. I never really gave my DM rules. Maybe that’s why he’s such a brat and pops up when and where he wants. I’ll have to follow your advise and put my foot down.
    Great post and congratulations on your July release. Can’t wait to see the cover.

    1. Thanks Janna! Good luck with your DM. I think the whole time travel thing stumped my buddy for a little while! I can’t wait to see the cover of my new book too!

  2. Excellent advice, Casey. And not a moment too soon. My DM has been sitting on my shoulder through my entire first draft process saying things like, “You’ll never get this done,” and “What made you think you could write a dystopian trilogy?” And my favorite, “Who do you think you are, Suzanne Collins?” I guess it’s time to put him in a “time out”.

    What is definitely helping is Suze’s fabulous FB writing “sprints”. Writing is such a solitary endeavor and requires an incredible amount of self-discipline. I like working as a group and being held accountable for making progress. It’s when the only voice I hear is the DM that I know I’m in trouble. Muzzle anyone?

    1. Those word sprints have been fantastic. I’ve been shadow sprinting all week. I think Suze has some magical power. Every time she issues a challenge lights a fire under me. Take that DM!!

      1. Mwahaha! I am manipulating you all like puppets! (Glad it’s helping! It’s been so much fun, too!)

  3. Casey, I just love your posts! They give me so much good information in such a lighthearted and fun way! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    And now, I really must watch MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. 🙂

    1. Thanks Rose. I’ve never been a big Woody Allen fan, but this movie grabbed my attention (it was probably the Van Gogh in the background). Plus I like time travel related stories. The what ifs are always so much fun!

    1. You know, my husband has this great t-shirt. It says: “Silence is golden, duct tape is silver.” If the DM keeps yaking, I’d recommend duct tape.

  4. This is too funny, Casey. Doubty has been dogging me a bit these days. I shall throw him a very large bone and hopefully he will be occupied long enough to let me get some work done in peace!

  5. Oh, I am such stickler for rules! Why hadn’t I thought of setting them before??? Thanks for the heads up about that and the movie… 🙂 I will have to look for it soon.

  6. The DM has not left me since I typed CHAPTER 1 of this manuscript. He has no rules and is super powerful. He rules everything I write but it’s not always a bad thing.If I don’t feel good about then I know I need to go back and make the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

      1. They are cute. aren’t they? As far as the DM, he always tries to trick me into thinking what I’m doing is crap, especially in the first third of the story. I’ve learned to ignore him until the first draft is done. Sometimes, he has a point and other times, he is way out in left field.

  7. Sorry I’m so late in getting to this party, busy day. WOW, I wish my doubt monster would take me to Paris. I have been there – c’est magnifique. I would love to life and write there. I have not seen that movie, but maybe I should! Oh, la, la. Now, back to reality … my doubt monster has flown the coop because I’m deep in writing mode. He HATES that. Thanks for sharing. Great post.

    1. It’s never too late to join the DM party. Someday, I hope to see Europe or a country not part of North America! Until then I will have live vicariously through everyone else!Happy writing!

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