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February 21, 2012

Have Whip, Will Banish by Michelle Miles

I bet you thought this was going to be about something kinky, didn’t you? You dirty-minded thing, you. ;)

Actually, today I’m writing about those ugly Doubt Demons. You know the ones. All writers suffer from them, whether we’re published or unpublished. (By the way, I wish I could take credit for the title of this post but it came from the most awesome Misty Evans.)

Mine looks like a big, hairy beast that stands six feet tall with a lot of sharp pointy teeth, horns coming out of his forehead, and an upturned nose. He’s ugly. Definitely ugly. And he smells like rotten eggs and sour milk. He stands behind me, drooling, telling me what an awful writer I am, how I’ll never be published again and that I should just give up because I’ll never be good enough or smart enough. He’s nasty and he snarls a lot.

“But I am smart enough,” I tell him.

And he laughs this ugly, guttural laugh and drools on my shoulder. It’s slimy and gross. I cringe.

“I am good enough!” I affirm.

He laughs again. “No, you’re not. You know that rejection you got the other day from your dream publisher? That’s what you’ll be getting from now on. You suck.”

Can you believe this guy?

This is when I turn around and give him a hard shove toward the door. I get my whip out and crack it over his head. I even kick him in the butt just to make my point. “Get out! Get out! Get out!”

Doubt Demons can destroy a writer. They do nothing good for us. They tear us down, tell us we suck, tell us we’re never going to be published, etc. You know the routine. So what do you do to combat them?

I have a few suggestions.

1. Get a whip. Whip it. And whip it good. Use it to get rid of those Doubt Demons before they eat away at your self-confidence. Imagine yourself, if you will, standing with your whip, your hat, and your gun. Only use the gun as a last resort. When that Doubt Demon advances on you, use the whip to scare him away. But be careful not to hurt yourself in the process.

2. Get a support group. Writers need other writers who understand the madness. Your loved ones can only help you so much. Try as they might, they don’t “get it” and that’s not their fault. They’re the non-writers in our lives (which we also need). When you start feeling those Doubt Demons hanging over your shoulder, grab your nearest writer pal and talk it out. You’ll find that your DDs start to dwindle away.

3. Get a drink. I don’t know about you, but martinis always help banish the demons for me. ;)

4. Have a piece of chocolate. The doctors say it’s good for you, so you may as well. One piece won’t hurt.

5. Use that gun. When all else fails, get out the gun. Point it at the Doubt Demon, tell him to get out OR ELSE.

Okay most of these are silly suggestions but I think you get my point. There is no reason to feel like this because YOU, my friend, are a great writer and you WILL succeed and continue to succeed. The only person standing in your way is YOU. You can get out of your own way, write those words every single day. Even if they’re not the greatest words, you ARE writing and that’s what counts. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says you suck. Instead, listen to the voice in your head that says it’s okay to suck. You can fix suckage. You can’t fix nothing.

Now go take on the page!

Michelle Miles writes contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleMiles and “like” her Facebook page at For more information about her and her books, visit her website at


Miriam Newman said...

Michelle, I recommend appletinis and dark chocolate, so I think you're definitely on the right track here!

Sylvia said...

Ha! Great post. I was comparing my sales on Amazon to someone else's today...big stupid thing to do. The doubt demon grabbed me by the throat. Good thing I read your blog, I've been saved. Just put the D*** book out there. You won't make any sales, if it's not out there.

Liese said...

Another piece of advice: take out that contest comment or note from an agent or editor that said somrthing encouraging ane re-read it or post it where you can see it to remind yourself not to get caught up in "stinking thinking."

Sasha Summers said...

I so agree Liese. I have a board right by my desk with the nice things I've heard about my work. It doesn't always defeat the doubt demon entirely, but it makes him shut up for a while. As far as support group - AMEN! Need them and love them - Princesses included :)! Great post!!!

Unknown said...

Timing on this is perfect Michelle. Thanks for that lovely description of the doubt demon. Lol. Yep...if I described mine...I'd say you nailed it.

I have a big dream I am finally going to wake up and enact. We'll see how that goes.

Love how you arm yourself against that enemy.

Liz Lipperman said...

Why is it that no matter what we have accomplished, we're still sure we suck? I found out that after I signed a contract, the doubt demons became even bigger and more aggressive. Now, EVERYONE (okay, I dream big!!) will read my stuff...and probably hate it.

And I agree that keeping other writers on speed dial when the DD hits is a must. Great post, Michelle.

Kathy Ivan said...

Couldn't be a more timely post, Michelle. My doubt demons have been attacking systematically and efficiently recently, and I've just sat there and let them.

No more! I'm grabbing my whip, my gun and my hat, and I'm fighting back, starting right now. Thanks for the kick in the pants that I needed to remind me that the doubt demon can be defeated.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Michelle. Golly, your doubt demon is one scary monster. The best advice I ever had is keep going. Because if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will.

And I believe in chocolate. And champagne cocktails, and handbags... ox

Michelle Miles said...

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by today and leaving comments! I don't get to play during the day due to the Day Job, but I'm always appreciative of you when you come by :)

Happy writing!

Pamela Stone said...

Great post, Michelle. You just have one? I have many. And like Liz said, after I sold, it only got worse. Why do we do this to ourselves? Writing is such a personal occupation!

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