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.

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 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.

When Characters Are Snarky…

I had to set up another home office in my Nevada house. While we still haven’t decided just what to do with it, we know that we’ll be here off and on for the renovations at the minimum, add to that author things, family things and we have a very full agenda in Nevada.

Now this isn’t a surprise but what was is the fact I actually had to create my own space here. See, I have a lovely office that my husband built for me early in my career. It has a fabulous desk with a huge picture window that allows me to look out at the world. It was one of the things I really, really missed five years ago when I moved to Vienna.

Today it’s being occupied by my son and his significant other as they build their fledgling Amazon business. They are doing quite well but there isn’t a corner in the room anymore which is mine. Their stuff is spread out over two rooms of the house and right now, my old desk is their command center.

Again, I tried to use the dining room table and again, I couldn’t. It’s big enough but the chairs are old and this time, there was another problem. When I did start to write, I found my characters were not only belligerent but downright snarky at times.

Harry-#2---ResizedSnarky used to be a term I only applied to Pup Harry. I mean, can’t you see the snark in his eyes? His ne’er’do-well smirk. He even has a blog named Call Me Snarky Boy from when we first got him. And now, my characters are behaving in the same way?!?

At first, I couldn’t believe it but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it wasn’t because of me not having a desk. The only really thing I’ve ever required when writing has been a desk in a quiet spot as I found out I was more productive that way. When I have no distractions, I can pound out the stories. Yet, here my characters were telling me they weren’t talking.

With two novellas due in the next month or so, an edit and another proposal to get to my agent’s desk, I understood I needed to do something and fast. Thank goodness for Amazon as I went shopping. After going through page after page of desks and not finding something I really wanted, I decided to look at the local consignment and antique stores.

I thought I wanted what is called a secretary desk with a pull down surface. Finding one immediate that I loved for the intricate detail, I excitedly talked to my husband who is currently in Vienna. He wanted the youngest to look at it to make sure we could do the repairs. Once the youngest saw it, he nixed it immediately because he thought if I put any weight on it at all, the whole thing would end up in my lap.

Not good. So we looked at two tables. One I really loved the wood but it had some damage too and while it didn’t matter to its purpose, it was more than I wanted to pay. Walking through the big pieces one last time, I spied a thin cherry table with two drawers. Calling my son over, I had him test it and we both liked it. I offered the owner a price I thought fair and was happy he took it.New-Desk-Picture-Resized

My son picked it up later that day and it took me about an hour to set up as it won’t hold much. Just a computer, some papers and it will be a charging station for all our phones and tablets. The drawers will hold pens, paper and the ever necessary post-its. I was ready to go but still I held back. Would my characters continue to be snarky? Or would they finally open up?

And I’m happy to report, they are singing like the birds! Thank goodness.

What about you? Do you ever have moments as a writer when the characters won’t talk to you? And readers, do you ever see characters that you wished were better written and more talkative?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…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.

Not quite Three Weeks Left

School. School is what’s on my mind. The Rhodes family has spent the entire summer in upheaval. We are finally in our new home, and the kids are looking at me and complaining they are bored. BORED! After all we’ve done!

I want a little bit to knock some heads together and say, just sit and do nothing! See how nice that is? But, it doesn’t quite work that way, does it?

Luckily for my kids, school starts in 2.5 weeks. August 8th.

But really, it will be a very long two and a half weeks. Too late to sign them up for stuff… And me, the queen of content while sitting at home. Ack!

So, tell me what you do when you’re at the end of your rope. Do you give in and spend money where you wouldn’t normally? Do you add one last visit to a friends or family’s home?

But, this is just a quick break for me… now I’m off to do some grocery shopping for our dinners for the week!! 😀

IMG_2177

New Office Space!! It’s so filled with light. 😀 I’m happy and looking forward to lots of time in here while I edit and write this fall.

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.

Binging

binge, v. binj/

gerund or present participle: binging
indulge in an activity, to excess.
context: “I’m binging on a new show.”
synonyms: to overindulge, to gorge

Yep. It’s true. I’m binging.

It used to be that if you told someone you were “binging”, they’d ask you why you were overeating. But now, “to binge” has a new meaning–specifically, “to watch too much television”. Or–even more specifically–“to watch back to back episodes of a particular show”.

My husband and I are binging on The Great Food Truck Race. imagesWe started watching it on Saturday; today is Tuesday, and just a few hours ago, he said, “Oh! There are five seasons. Only one left!” So…seven episodes per season, each one about forty-nine minutes long, that means we’ve actually consumed about…well…many hours of tv. Too many hours.

Other things we’ve binged on are Blue Bloods (Tom Selleck only improves with age), and Kitchen Nightmares, download (1)with Gordon Ramsey. Ordinarily, watching cooking shows results in my husband wanting to become a chef; this means he starts making dinner every night and going to the market in search of “quality” and “whole” foods. (I’m not complaining. He’s actually a really good cook.) Unfortunately, binging on Kitchen Nightmares before bed after a day of binging on Rue Paul’s Drag Race also results in some rather strange dreams which include Gordon Ramsey dressed in drag and wearing a basket of fruit on his head. (No offense, Chef, but you make a horrific-looking woman, especially when you wear fruit, bright red lipstick and gold hoop earrings.)

One of the shows my kids and I enjoy binging on is images (1)Supernatural. Part of this is because it’s got a compelling story line, great and frequently unexpected dialogue and situations, wonderful characters and a close-knit group of actors and fans. It’s also got a shiny black car and an excellent soundtrack. But binging on this particular show is hazardous to one’s life–it’s run for eleven seasons; ten of which are available to watch. Twenty-one episodes per season (except for one season, which was cut short by a writers’ strike), forty-nine minutes per episode–it’s a show that can consume you whole for days. (Though to be honest, any one of this particular cast could probably get away with dressing like a woman and wearing fruit on their heads in dreams or real life.)

Once upon a time, books would absorb you into their worlds–now it’s television shows. As a writer, this makes me somewhat sad, but on the other hand, I appreciate the fact that I can share the experience of characters I love with family members in a shared watching of a show. Or, we can appreciate lessons learned, like running a food truck and using quality ingredients. In the end, when it comes to binging, I’d rather consume chunks of all absorbing worlds than actual food. At least, there are a lot less calories.

Do you binge? What are some of your favorite shows to consume whole?

About Marnie Blue

Cyn D. Blackburn is addicted to love. And caffeine. She lives with her husband (of 20+) years, three children, two dogs, two guinea pigs and one terribly outnumbered cat. She knows that nothing eases the difficulties of life--and falling into love--more than a little humor.

Getting New Things

Today is one of those interesting days where I can look back at the month and be really grateful for all that life has given me. I know I’ve mentioned looking for a new home and trying to get more writing done before. Well…this month…I made both a reality.

We have been blessed enough to have the ability to have two homes and it’s lucky too since my dear husband will be working in both these places. Both homes are rather modest in size and what they have but the fact that one is in Nevada where it’s hotter than hades right now versus the more temperate climate of New Mexico at 7300 feet, makes me jump for joy. Trust me, mountains are the way to go.

It couldn’t come at a better time as I’ve recently discovered, if I get too hot, I just might pass out. Frankly, I think that comes with the territory of getting older…which is another thing that I did this month…and on summer solstice too. It was 115 degrees here that day and boy, I just couldn’t wait to be gone from this summer heat. It’s really sad to realize your childhood home isn’t good for you anymore. But we just might want this place to escape a cold winter in New Mexico, so we’re holding on to it.

The new house will be more of a project as we’re turning a duplex, that had been a single family home at one time, back into that single family home. I have some great plans for it and once my DH heard about them, he was amazed what I felt we could do with the place. Think master bedroom retreat and you’ll get the picture.

Front of HouseWith 2000 new workers coming into the New Mexico area we’re moving to and only 144 homes on the market when we were looking, our choices were limited. We lost our first choice in a bidding war to find the one we learned we were approved for just last week. What is awesome, it’s the same floor plan as the other home but we have to add a driveway and a garage.

Not a small feat but something that we know is doable. And the home ended up cheaper, with more updated items and a seller that was willing to realize his baby needed work. Unlike the home where the owner tried to convince those bidding for it that none of the inspection fixes really needed to be completed. Here’s the house in it’s present state. We’re making a front porch by connecting the two small ones and will be stuccoing the home with the flat type normally found in northern New Mexico for a more farm-style look.

LetterboxLoveStories400x600And as if a house wasn’t enough, I have a new story that just hit the pre-order stage on Friday. I am really excited about the story, Sealed With A Kiss, as it represents a few things for me. First, there’s the fact that this is the first new story I’ve had out there in 3 years. Second, it’s in a genre I totally love and that’s time travel. To find out more about this wonderful anthology that I’m a part of, just click the picture to be taken to the Amazon page. What’s even more exciting…it’s on pre-order sale of just $0.99…but that’s not going to last long with the price going up to $2.99 on July 11.

What exciting things have happened in your life this month? Read any new books? Write any new ones? I’d love to hear all about your adventures…see you 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.

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