Fighting the Doubt Monster

As a writer, a full-time worker, wife, and mother of two, I find myself constantly analyzing my actions, reactions, and doubt-monsterefforts. For the story writing part of me, it gets worse as the book unfolds, then the edits, and before I know it the Doubt Monster takes hold and I’m paralyzed.

Doubt Monsters are red, with tentacle-like legs, razor-sharp teeth, and beady eyes. The visual manifestation looks like that anyway. The mental manifestation is fear and anxiety, followed by a lovely dose of procrastination on social media, maybe some candy crushing. They  won’t disappear with these tactics. The battle wages on regardless of the side tracks. I get scared about not living up to expectations, about how everyone will hate the words AND the best one of all – that I’m a fake. A no-good, useless waste of writing space, posing as a person with good ideas/plots/characters when really a four-year-old could come up with this stuff.

These are not issues only affecting me. I’m not unique. Most writers deal with the Doubt Monsters day in and day out. Nasty suckers, aren’t they?

If you’re suffering from one of these Doubt Monsters, thankfully there’s a few tips and tricks to defeat the beasts.

  1. Music  – I’ve got a few songs to help me through the tough times. Uplifting beats. You may remember employing similar efforts after a bad break up or when you’re stressed out.
  2. Sunshine and a walk – Break up the blurry eyes by getting away from the computer a bit. The problems aren’t going anywhere. The words will still be on the page. It’s time to let your brain process the information and then play catch up. I do some of my best work sometimes sitting in traffic.
  3. Talking things out with a friend – Most writers have a critique partner, along with a writing group. It’s part of the magic formula that helps get a lot of writers to the finish line and then into the ever-coveted, winner’s circle. Many times my CP is the one who listens to my ideas, the crazy ones, the problems, and the doubts. She’s the voice of reason to battle against the Doubt Monster.

Don’t believe me? Well, I come with articles to back me up. They are not fool-proof, and sure some of this is in my head, but

13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

The Benefits of Amazing Writing Critique Partners

There are more articles you can find talking about getting outside being good for the soul, critique partners enriching lives. I imagine you even have your own ways to fight the Doubt Monsters invading your mind and making a home in your amygdala.

How do you fight the monsters? 

If you’ve got a Doubt Monster creeping up on you, I have a song to help fight it.

Hugs, Love, and Battle On my friends.

 

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Guest Post: Caroline — Tech Tools

Tech Tools Every Writer Should Invest In

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Any good writer needs a little bit of help sometimes, and in today’s digital age, there are plenty of useful online tools and mobile apps that are available to help you find inspiration, stay organized and improve the quality of your writing. Here are some of our favorites.

Brainsparker
Every author knows how frustrating writer’s block can be, but there are plenty of tools that can encourage you to stop thinking and start writing. One of our favorites is Brainsparker, which provides users with thousands of potential writing prompts. It’s a great way to get your brain working, as all you have to do is shuffle the cards and pick a random prompt. You can use it to dream up topics for your next short story or simply do a quick exercise that gets you in the right frame of mind to write creatively.

Dragon
Many authors use voice dictation to help write their content. Some writers such as Jason Womack use voice dictation and recognition to write entire books while others use this technology to take down notes and inspiration quickly. Dragon is a useful voice dictation app that has great reviews, as many users note that it transcribes speech almost perfectly.

Evernote
Inspiration can strike at any time, and it is important for writers to be able to jot them down quickly and easily. Evernote is a note-taking app that allows you to do just that. It is available on various platforms, and it can be synced across several devices, so you’ll always have access to the notes you’ve made.

Grammarly
Grammarly is an online editing app that corrects spelling and grammar errors. While any good word processor has a spell-check facility, these built-in tools don’t always catch every mistake. Grammarly conducts in-depth checks to ensure your content is perfect for publication. It even offers up synonym suggestions to improve the readability of your writing.

Google Drive
It is important you back up all of your writing so you never lose any of your work if anything happens to your computer. Google Drive is one of the best online storage options, as users are provided with 15 gigabytes of free storage when they sign up for a Google account. Every document you upload is stored online, and your Google Drive can be synced across all of your devices.

To keep these online documents safe, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This adds an extra layer of protection when uploading your files online so unauthorized users cannot access your personal work. To find out which VPN best suits your needs, take a look at this VPN review from Secure Thoughts.

These tools are sure to help improve the quality of your writing as well as your overall productivity. Try them out and leave us a comment to let us know how they helped change the way you write!

*~*~*

Author Bio: Caroline is a tech blogger with a passion for creative writing. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, plays and short stories. You can find her on Twitter at @CultureCovC.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet…or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Write Or Die ~ #LynnCrain #Productivity #amwriting #PCers

Yes, the title of my post this month is Write Or Die. And no, I don’t have a death wish but I’m in the last throes getting a project done and I needed something to help me with my productivity. Don’t we all need a little of that?

This is a very cool program and will help you to reach your goals if you use it consistently. You can find it here. On my regular desktop, which I still haven’t set up yet ~ bad me, I purchased it and love the program. There is also a web version that you can use anytime you want. Here’s a picture of the dashboard you’ll see:

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The thing I like is that I can set my own goal, my time limit and I can tell it how I want to warn me when I’m not writing up to my potential. There are different types of modes as well as what you have it do to jolt you back to productivity. While this can be fun, it can be very frustrating as well. Especially if you’re like me and hooked to the internet all the time.

There are just some days one has to unplug themselves from the world and get a project done. I used to have little tricks to help me. Like locking my office door.  Then I got older and realized that I would have to answer if there were broken bones or blood involved. Such is life when you only have boys.

So, I decided to find something that would help me concentrate for short bursts of time thus making those short bursts very productive. I found this program years ago when I had more deadlines than I do today. It has helped me through many days where I needed to keep to a minimum word count but for some reason, my mind would wonder. I’d want to do research then continue doing research even though I had enough to produce the story.

Writing can be a struggle but for something who used to be a regular gamer, making it fun again can be important. Therefore, I’ll use this program until it’s no longer useful. Or who knows…maybe I’ll grow up and not need these little kicks…LOL!

If you all struggle with productivity, check out this article from Jane Friedman. She has all the latest and greatest to keep you on track.

I’d love to hear from you on what you do to keep yourself productive…see you all next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

First Ever Vlog

Happy Birthday to me! And my first ever Video Blog about what writers should know.

#awkward #fun #sendlipstick

….Apparently, I have none.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet…or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Inconceivable!

This morning a college friend posted on Facebook that he had never seen The Princess Bride. Inconceivable, yes? It’s the only movie I’ve ever seen in a movie theater more than once, and the second time I went by myself. So I started streaming it on Netflix as I stared at this blank blog page, trying to figure out what to write today. I got to this exchange between Vizzini and Inigo, as the Man in Black is climbing the Cliffs of Insanity:

V: “He didn’t fall? Inconceivable!”
I: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

You can see the whole clip here, just because it’s awesome.

Anyway, it got me thinking. As writers, words are everything to us. Large and small, we agonize over every one we write. As an author of historical fiction, I not only have to agonize over every word and what it means, I need to think about whether the word actually existed in the time period of the book.  I keep a bunch of reference books on my desk and on my Kindle which help me find just the right word, and I have the OED, available online through my public library, bookmarked.

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If there’s even the slightest question a word might not mean what I think it means, I look it up. If there’s the slightest question a word didn’t exist in the 19th century, I look it up. And if I have used ‘smile’ 100 times (yes, it’s possible), I look for other words to replace them. And my editor takes out 90% of my ‘thats.’

So, what about you? What are your go-to sources for finding just the right word? And how many times have you seen The Princess Bride? 🙂

 

About Marin McGinnis

A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She’s spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She’s been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete.

While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press.

Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book.

You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Lead Me On

We talk often about what makes a good romance hero. And honestly, who doesn’t love it? I could go on for hours about what makes the perfect book boyfriend.

SONY DSCFor the sake of this discussion, what about the female lead? What is that something special about her that makes you want to buy into the story and keep reading? Strong motivation is absolutely vital, but I’m thinking more about personality. How does this person approach a challenge? What does their self-talk sound like? How do they treat others and what tack do they take when they interact with people?

Should they be sweet, smart, or sexy? From the hero’s POV, there’s no doubt they are all that and a bag of chips. But like it or not, as readers (and yes authors, but that’s a whole other kettle…) we feed into that equation. What draws a reader to fall in love with a character? Who do we enjoy or identify with? This is such a subjective thing, let’s do this – I’ll tell you my favorites if you tell me yours…

For the most part, I prefer what I call kick-ass with a heart of gold. Yes, they are considered “Strong”, but they are so much more IMO. Occasionally I love a funny, sweet, kind of ditzy character, yet I find myself consistently drawn to these serious types with a hint of darkness more often than not.

  1. Eve Dallas from the In Death series.
  2. Anita Blake from the Vampire Hunter series (mostly the earlier ones).
  3. Claire Fraser from Outlander.
  4. Alexa (Lex) Parrino from the Beyond series.
  5. Beth from the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

At the moment I’m having fun with May Wexler from Wrong Number, Right Guy. She’s just funny, all the way around.

So now it’s your turn. Who are some of your favorite female lead characters, and why?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

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