Let’s Hear it for The Doubt Monster

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here.

Today’s topic: My nemesis The Doubt Monster. He originally debuted on my blog (see original post here) back in June of 2011.

To recap my original post, here is how The Doubt Monster torments me.

  • This story is dumb. Who will want to read it?
  • There are so many other things I should have/could have done.
  • I must be missing something like (fill in the blank).
  • This story is so weird no one will buy it.

On and on it goes. The greedy Doubt Monster messing with my head and my confidence.

Any of this sound familiar? Let’s hear what the pros have to say:

Lynn Kurland’s take on the DM – “It also helps to point sternly toward the scary under-the-bed spot used by all creepy things and tell Doubty to get back there. Then write your book the way you like. If he doesn’t make too many noises you can let him back out to help you with the editing.”

Fellow Soul Mate Author –  Katy Lee – “The Doubt Monster taunts me every time I sit in the chair to write. “Who said you could write? Huh?” Perhaps I’ll keep a club beside my chair to play whack-a-Mole with him when he pokes his head out from now on.”

To which author J Monkeys enthusiastically proposed – “I think we need to find someone to create the Whack-a-Doubty app….”

But wait! There’s a voice of dissent here.

Kristan Higgins says of old Doubty – “I love and embrace the Doubt Monster. It took us a while to fall for each other, but because I am old and wise now, I’ve come to learn that the DM and I are actually meant to be together. He lets me know when I need to rethink a plot point or adjust a character, back off or tone down or beef up. That being said, I try to ignore the DM during the first draft. Experience has shown that while first draft may indeed suck, it doesn’t mean the final product will. So I try to barrel through that part of writing, then fling open the doors and let the Doubt Monster have at it.”

Hmm. I’m hearing some love, even admiration. Maybe I should re-consider. Maybe he’s like Darth Vader. A misunderstood villain who really has a soft, gooey middle.


The jury is still out with me. All I can say, is this – “Doubt Monster, I’ve got my eyes on you. Watch it buddy!”

What do you think? Have I been unfair to the Doubt Monster? Should I learn to live with him instead of playing whack-a-mole on his head?

How do you deal with the Doubt Monster?

About Casey Wyatt

Writer of PNR/UF, Doctor Who fangirl & collector of stray cats, visit me @ www.caseywyatt.com or instagram @caseywyattbooks
This entry was posted in Casey's Up!, Publishing, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Let’s Hear it for The Doubt Monster

  1. Doubt is such a huge part of any writer’s journey. That’s when you need a critique partner, an editor, or a brisk libation. 🙂
    Great post!

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Thanks Ann! I think it’s fair to say doubt tortures everyone in one way or another. But it especially preys on the creative bunch because of the subjective nature of our work.

  2. Doubty is totally a girl! (I had an inappropriate follow up, then thought, “Nah, this is a G-rated blog.” Apparently, I really DO have a filter. I just choose not to use it!)

    From now on, I think I’ll refer to Doubty as Doubti-with-an-I.

    As for how I deal with her… Well, I’ve learned that I can’t listen until rewrites. And then I take every negative thing that..ahem, G-rated…witch says and fix it. Or try to. Or I tell her to shut up!

    Great post, Casey!

  3. B.J. Scott says:

    If any author says they did not meet the ‘doubt monster’ during their journey, they are very lucky or not telling the truth 😉 More likely the latter. We all question and that is a good thing. Makes us strive to be the best we can be.

    Great post Casey

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      So true BJ! And I’m leery of anyone who has no doubt. That smacks of delusion and a total lack of awareness that their work could be improved. I’d rather be filled with doubt and learn to do better than think I have nothing else to learn (that is scary to me!).

  4. Susannah Hardy says:

    Whack-A-Doubty, for me! I also have an internal air horn I sound (like the ones at basketball games, or on ships) to stop myself from going down roads I shouldn’t. I don’t know if I respond best to tactile, visual, or auditory cues! Apparently some combination.

  5. darcyflynn says:

    Oh, so that’s the name of the little negative voice in my head! lol She’s is a girl, by the way. Definitely, female!
    I needed this post today! The Doubt Monster has been sitting on my shoulder as I work on my current wip. Even though I don’t like her very much, she has been know to tell the truth, occasionally. 🙂 I totally agree with Kristan Higgins’ view of the DM.
    Great post, Casey!

  6. Nice post, Casey. I guess I don’t think much about him anymore. He’s just here but not a problem.

  7. He’s never going to go away, so you may as well learn to live with him. I found that increased word count sends him packing. Another thing he hates is when you send queries out, but what he hates most of all is when you get “the call”. It all boils down to ignoring him as you continue to write. He seems to grow larger when you give him space in your mind – so just keep writing. I wonder if Nora has a pet doubt monster … hmm.

  8. ravenraye says:

    I wallow. I’m really good at it, too. Ice cream, jammies, NCIS marathon… My DM had a partner for a while until I got ‘the call’, my DH. But I wasn’t going to give up my ‘hobby’ and find a real job (I’d just gotten laid off). He’s been wanting to retire for so long, I told him he was just jealous.

    It’s better, though. He even went with me to Nationals last year and had a blast. I think that was his first taste of what a huge and professional organization publication and RWA really was. Anyway, great post, Casey. Still fighting my internal doubt monster, but without his partner, he’s harder to hear.


    • Casey Wyatt says:

      That’s good Raven! Don’t let the beastie get you down. Next week at the Scribes, I’ll be offering tips for the care and feeding of your Doubt Monster.

  9. Cathryn Cade says:

    Casey, thanks for sharing that all sorts of talented, successful authors co-habit with Doubt Monsters. Gleefully shouting ‘I’m NOT THE ONLY ONE!’ here in my quiet little home office.

    And I’m totally rocking at the Doubt Monsters Ball with you and Jamie and everyone (even tho I know she’ll show up in way cuter shoes than me).

    I agree that if I can just shut Doubt-ful up long enough to get a first draft, no matter how rough, I can vanquish him for One More Book–and that’s all I can do.


  10. jannashay says:

    Sorry it took so long to comment. There’s been a lot going on lately. Loved your post. I always have the doubt monster around. I try to ignore her, although many times it’s impossible. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one.

  11. ansuyo says:

    Those doubt monsters are busy creatures 🙂

  12. I loved this! The Doubt Monster pays me visits frequently, and paid me a big one on the day my book released! He hasn’t left after that! Can somone please conjure him away from me? I need a break!! 😉

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