Prepare to do battle with the mighty crows of doubt

Ah, the crows of doubt. For the uninitiated, these are the dark creatures that circle your head, pecking at your hair whilst cackling evilly and shouting ‘you are SO RUBBISH.’ Recognise them now? I thought you might. There is a particular gang of crows which specialises in attacking writers. They have additional phrases, like ‘even if you sell this drivel, it’s so bad that no-one will ever read it,’ and ‘well that book might have sold, but this one is just WTF. Ryan Gosling will beg to be your love slave before this gets published.’

Before I was published, I assumed that publication would smite down the mighty crows of doubt, bringing them to earth in an explosion of flames that would turn them to dust, never to be heard from again.

This is not the case. Sorry about that, unpublished writers.

The crows are bigger. They have new, previously unheard phrases. It’s a crow of doubt upgrade. Woohoo! Suddenly, the room for mistakes seems much, much smaller. Ideas you would have gone with before even though they were rubbish are now dismissed, because they’re rubbish. And there’s no room for rubbish any more. You’re supposed to know what you’re doing!

And… collapse on the floor in a heap of despair, vowing never to write again. Instead, you will live in a clean, organised house, and never again put the bin out at the last minute wearing a dress but no knickers because you got dressed in such a hurry (or is that just me).

At the moment, I am trying to write a different kind of book, a bigger book, something with more twists and turns, more characters, more challenges. I’m not sure I can do it. The crows are having a field day. But I am beating them off the only way I know how – one word at a time.

How do you fight off the crows?

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5 thoughts on “Prepare to do battle with the mighty crows of doubt

  1. Peanut butter helps. When that fails, I go back and read parts I think are good, things that make me smile or laugh out loud. When THAT fails, I go to a movie, or for a run, or watch something mindless on TV. After a while, I remind myself I’m beating myself up for no real reason. I know my life is good, even if my writing occasionally sucks.

  2. How do I fight the crows of doubt? I usually dump on you my lovely critique partner! Seriously, I don’t know how I deal with them. Some days what seems to be utter drivel can, on other occasions, be better than I thought. So, going on that basis it’s better to keep pushing through the doubts and carry a large crow swatter or a catapult to deal with those pesky black creatures of doom.

  3. When the crows of doubt attack I can usually be seen flailing about in a spectacular display of artistic temperament! Then, I away to my writing cave, where instead of getting on with the act of writing, I resume working on the prototype for a vanishing cloak so that the crows of doubt won’t notice me!

    The real trick is to allow yourself to take a little break, regroup, and employ the following mantra: I know I can do this, I know I can do this, I know I can do this. Soon, the crows go pick on someone else.

    Happy writing. p.s. I know you can do this. I know you can do this.

  4. I’m late to comment – sorry – but I googled Doubt Crows and this is a top pick! And now I’ve found your blog and can follow.
    I have awful doubt crows and feel like they are a horror not-to-be-admitted indulgence because I am published. I am currently rewriting the first half of a contracted book because it hasn’t worked. Three books in and I still haven’t a clue what I’m doing half the time.
    Am lobbing anti doubt crow dust all over your bigger book. I would love to write a bigger book one day. Maybe.
    x

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