Thursday, August 02, 2007

Practical help for banish the Crows of Doubt

Today I was very good indeed -- stayed at home and wrote. I did not get done as much as I would have liked but I am starting to get a definite handle on the story and how it is going to progress. Far better than I thought this morning.
Some of Swain is VERY dated. 1965 was very much pre-women's movement. It is also interesting that the big earners of the time -- Westerns and too a large extent short stories have gone. Romance that which he dismisses as love pulp or girlie books has done wonderfully well. But that aside he does have useful hints for fighting Crows of Doubt.
All writers fall prey to them. They can be triggered by simple things -- a casual comment, reading something by another author that you wish you had written. Writers tend to be sensitive -- he argues writers have to be sensitive because they need to feel-- but the downside is that flocks of crows can settle.
Some of his tips include:
1. Remembering you are born with talent and you have acquired skill. Two things that do not seep away over night. They are still waiting to be tapped.
2. Make a checklist of potential problem areas. For example go back through your editors' thoughts -- what areas come up time and time again. Make a habit of checking for these things in your work BEFORE you send the ms off.
3. Get enough exercise. Failure to exercise often leads to depression and depression is more inviting to Crows.
4. Let your editor decide. It is not your job to be your editor. That distinction belongs to your editor. Finish your book and let your editor see it.
5. Incorporate present interests into your work so that you rediscover your enthusiasm for the work. Being enthusiastic about what you are writing means that the crows don't get a look in because you are having too much fun.
6. Stay with the cattle. In other words, keep writing. Hypercritical phases don't last. The blood you sweated may turn out to be vintage.
7. Avoid crutches. Alcohol is the crows' friend, not the writer's. It will intensify your mood. Use in moderation.
8. Study craft, so you know you have the skills.
9. Take a break. Do something to clear your mind. Allow your subconscious to work.
10. Going back to number 1. Trust in your talent and write for that unique sub set of readers -- the ones who get your work. You are not writing for another authors' readers.

Does anyone else have any practical tips on what to do when the Crows of Doubt hit? What are some good things to lob at them?

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