Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When doubt gets you down...

Last week I talked about what agents are buying. The more I thought about the post, the more I realized with all the ‘we’re looking for’ in the agent world it’s easy to get down. As writers part of the job description is doubt. There are several points in my writing that I have a moment of weakness.
It is then I call my go to buddies – You know who you are.

However I can’t always rely on awesome blogger buddies (this is a hypothetical… of course I’ll ALWAYS rely on them… they’re better then chocolate chip cookies – maybe).

When doubt gets me down I go for the basics:

1. Watch a good chick flick (if you’re male or just don’t like chick flicks seek alternative movie option): I normally go with heartfelt and warming and lovey dovey (cuz that’s my thing). It always puts me in a good place.

2. Bubble baths (If you’re male or hate baths – what’s wrong with you?): I love the scent of lavender, oh so soothing, and relaxing. It allows me to clear my head of negativity.

3. Writing prompts: When I’m feeling down these normally blow… BUT… it helps gain my life back. I’ve written something along the lines of – what does an apple feel when left in the basket on the kitchen counter. I start off saying “what the hell” and end with something silly creative. Gets the juices flowing.

4. Ask for positive feedback: I’m a sucker. When in need I ask my hubby, friend, cat (meowing counts), or blog buddy to share something positive about me. Yes, it sounds conceded (make sure it’s about writing) but it’s that go to letter that brightens your day on the bluest of days (Sarah Pearson is my fabulous letter).

5. Remember why you write: You write because you love. Even if you’re at the querying stage and nothing is going write NEVER GIVE UP. Writers don’t say it to keep you going; they say it because it’s true. Keep writing you’re good at it because you’re hardworking and love it. Each word allows improvement.

How do you deal with doubt? Any remedies I might have missed?

41 comments:

Jess said...

I love this post! So inspiring :)
And whenever I can't figure out what to write, or I get stuck writing my novel, I'll write some poetry or flash fiction! That always seems to help me!

Laura Pauling said...

The flow of confidence and then doubt is inevitable. It's part of being a writer. When I'm in a low, I read good books and watch great movies!

Misha said...

I also go for positive re-inforcement, but first, I make a point of reminding myself who I'm writing for first: ME. :-)

Joanne said...

Writing is such a process, we need that positive reinforcement sometimes along the way. I like that even the cat is part of it all, High-Five to the felines :)

Em-Musing said...

I remind myself just how old I am and TICK TOCK! I can't waste time doubting. When that fails, Jose Cuevo helps...;)

Lisa Aldin said...

Wine! =)

Talli Roland said...

Oh gosh, doubt! Argh... it plagues me! I do love a good bubble bath and a natter with Mr TR. Although he's rapidly getting used to tuning me out, lol!

Tess said...

it is because we attach our heart and soul to our art...and we want others to see the same beauty we do.

Deana said...

When in doubt I read or watch a lovey dovey chick flick like you. I would like to take a bubble bath but oddly enough my hubby is always taking them since we moved into this old house with a clawfoot bath tub. The weirdo, doesn't he know that it's for me?

Nicole Zoltack said...

Definitely bubble bath and chocolate. Or watching The Princess Bride for the zillionth time.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yes! I deal with doubt a lot like that. My main doubt-buster is blogging and supportive bloggy buds! :-)

Laurel Garver said...

Doubt is a constant companion on this journey. Sometimes it helps to personify him as a curmudgeounly grampa and have hilarious conversations. That seems to cut him down to size. Gooey chick-flicks definitely send him packing.

Julianna said...

When I feel doubtful in writing, I remember to "write what I know". Especially when there is one WIP that is especially near and dear to your. OK Go's 'This Too Shall Pass' is an awesome song/video. Their videos always inspire/cheer me right up. Good luck Jen!

jenniferpickrell said...

Aww...I love that meowing counts as positive feedback!

Michelle Fayard said...

No. 5 works for me every time. :)

REINHARDT! said...

I'm a huge fan of calling up a writing buddy and just venting. It feels so good to let out the frustration and re-approach the page with a fresh mind.

Diana Mieczan said...

Bubble baths are perfect for days like that, I totally agree:) Have a sunny afternoon, sunshine. Muah

Abby said...

I'm liking all of your suggestions. I do the happy chick flick. Grab some chocolate peanut butter ice cream and enjoy myself. I always love the warm bath with lavender and candle light. (Yep, even by myself.) Then I just say the hell with the world, I'm going to write! And I get back on the band wagon!

Catherine Denton said...

Your suggestions are stellar. I would only add that spending time with family or friends helps me gain perspective. I go back to my writing feeling loved and restored.My Blog

Anne said...

Supportive friends are a great help.Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog!
~Anne

Laura Marcella said...

Wonderful remedies! I use most of these too, especially prompts, movies, and fishing for compliments. ;)

Michelle Merrill said...

Great tips Jen! I've been watching plenty of sappy cheesy chick flicks. It's awesome!

And I agree with the bubble baths.

Everything is better after a little sugar too. No lie! I'm so excited for it to be cold so I can sip some hot cider or chocolate. Yay!

And...you know you can always send me an email when you're down, right? I can send some sweet positive vibes :)

Carrie said...

Chick flicks totally help me deal when I have those "omg I got rejected again" moments. Chick flicks and ginger peach sorbet.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

How about chicks with guns flicks? I could do that!
Best thing I can do is get with my blogger buddies here online.

Tiffany Garner said...

I grab a bag of doritos and remind myself of how far I've already come. Sometimes, when I get an extremely positive edit back from a CP, I reread that just to remind myself that my book doesn't suck. Querying stinks, but I'll make it through :)

Johanna Garth said...

Doubt! We all experience it, don't we. This sounds ridiculous and sexist but I swear my downest doubt times are tied to my monthly cycle. Actually, maybe that's how I deal with doubt. I tell myself it's just like cramps and it'll be over in a few days.

J. A. Bennett said...

Those are so great! I love what you said about baths!

Angela Brown said...

Aside from chocolate, I find that when I am in a doubty mood, I psych myself out of it by offering words of encouragement to others. I tend to do this by finding other examples of people who could have given up but didn't. I did a post yesterday about Rallying after Rejection (http://publishness.blogspot.com/2011/09/rally-after-rejection.html). A few commentors mentioned authors who were rejected hundreds of times during the query process before landing their publishing gig. That kind of rejection could definitely cause doubt. This also forces me to look at my situation and see things with the glass half-full and getting fuller slowly...though very, very slowly :-)

Liz said...

This is a great list! For some reason, and I don't know why, I get my best ideas for writing when I take a hot shower. Relaxes me and I don't sing so instead I think :)

Shannon said...

Excellent list! The only other thing I do is write myself a positive email. Silly, but it helps!

Nicki Elson said...

I like number 5 the best. :) Particularly since I'm in the midst of writing something that is an odd combo of an element that's not hot right now and another that seems to be hot but will probably burn out by the time I'm finished. Is that going to stop me from continuing to write it? Hell no.

Your writing prompts tip is one I never would've thought of, but I love it! Thanks.

Ed Pilolla said...

i love no. 5. we write with love and hope. we write better writing what we truly want to put to the page. here from katie mills.

Sarah Pearson said...

Awww, that's lovely to hear Jen - and you missed the chocolate!

Jemi Fraser said...

Chick flicks are great! And so are my LotR or Star Trek or Star Wars movies. Or the Wizard of Oz :)

Caitlin said...

I talk to my husband. He always tells me that I'm great, my writing is amazing, and one day I'll make a bajillion dollars and he won't have to work any more. Always cheers me up!

Amanda Milner said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. :)
I love your blog! The background is awesome and your bio made me say, "This chic is cool." Lol! Seriously. Cocktails, cupcakes and lying?? Haha, love it.
A good movie/show with a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn always cheers me up. :) I'm a freak, I don't do baths. I just feel like I'm stewing in my own filth...not to say I'm filthy, I'm not, promise. Lol!
Sometimes when I'm feeling bummed and un-motivated I crank up the music, grab the nearest "microphone" and "sing" as loud as I can, dancing liking an idiot required. ;) This cheers me up, gets the blood flowing and releases stress. I highly recommend it. :)

Miss Caitlin S. said...

very well said!!! Though my chick-flick is "Friends" episodes over and over... I also love a good, long walk :) So cliche but I do!

Miranda Hardy said...

Bubble baths are a must!! Great stress reliever. I rely on my writing partner to keep me motivated to continue. I also find motivating quotes and read them daily. If I never quit, I'll never fail. I love that one.

Shaik said...

Very expensive words, well said....lovely to find your blog.


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Lindsay N. Currie said...

Bubble bath + nice glass of wine and/or chocolate in front of a "comfort food" movie. So, bubble bath followed by clue and a snickers bar! LOL don't let doubt creep in - it has no place in the house of Jen:)

Jane said...

As someone who teaches writing as well as er writing it, I've noticed that my good students are always always wracked with self-doubt and the talentless ones are always convinced that the publishing world are FOOLS for not noticing their maverick genius. No it has nothing to do with their leaden plotting and one dimensional characterisation! So doubt tends to belong to the talented in my view. And as WB Yeats said: 'The best lack all conviction, the worst are full of a passionate intensity.' xx