Writer Inspiration: Have Whip, Will Banish by Michelle Miles

Have Whip, Will Banish
By Michelle Miles

I bet you thought this was going to be about something kinky, didn’t you? That’s why you clicked on it. You dirty-minded thing, you. 😉

Actually, today I’m writing about those ugly Doubt Demons. You know the ones. All writers suffer from them, whether we’re published or unpublished. (By the way, I wish I could take credit for the title of this post but it came from the most awesome Misty Evans.)

Mine looks like a big, hairy beast that stands six feet tall with a lot of sharp pointy teeth, horns coming out of his forehead, and an upturned nose. He’s ugly. Definitely ugly. And he smells like rotten eggs and sour milk. He stands behind me, drooling, telling me what an awful writer I am, how I’ll never be published again and that I should just give up because I’ll never be good enough or smart enough. He’s nasty and he snarls a lot.

“But I am smart enough,” I tell him.

And he laughs this ugly, guttural laugh and drools on my shoulder. It’s slimy and gross. I cringe.

“I am good enough!” I affirm.

He laughs again. “No, you’re not. You know that rejection you got the other day from your dream publisher? That’s what you’ll be getting from now on. You suck.”

Can you believe this guy?

This is when I turn around and give him a hard shove toward the door. I get my whip out and crack it over his head. I even kick him in the butt just to make my point. “Get out! Get out! Get out!”

Doubt Demons can destroy a writer. They do nothing good for us. They tear us down, tell us we suck, tell us we’re never going to be published, etc. You know the routine. So what do you do to combat them?

I have a few suggestions.

1. Get a whip. Whip it. And whip it good. Use it to get rid of those Doubt Demons before they eat away at your self-confidence. Imagine yourself, if you will, standing with your whip, your hat, and your gun. Only use the gun as a last resort. When that Doubt Demon advances on you, use the whip to scare him away. But be careful not to hurt yourself in the process.

2. Get a support group. Writers need other writers who understand the madness. Your loved ones can only help you so much. Try as they might, they don’t “get it” and that’s not their fault. They’re the non-writers in our lives (which we also need). When you start feeling those Doubt Demons hanging over your shoulder, grab your nearest writer pal and talk it out. You’ll find that your DDs start to dwindle away.

3. Get a drink. I don’t know about you, but martinis always help banish the demons for me. 😉

4. Have a piece of chocolate. The doctors say it’s good for you, so you may as well. One piece won’t hurt.

5. Use that gun. When all else fails, get out the gun. Point it at the Doubt Demon, tell him to get out OR ELSE.

Okay most of these are silly suggestions but I think you get my point. There is no reason to feel like this because YOU, my friend, are a great writer and you WILL succeed and continue to succeed. The only person standing in your way is YOU. You can get out of your own way, write those words every single day. Even if they’re not the greatest words, you ARE writing and that’s what counts. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says you suck. Instead, listen to the voice in your head that says it’s okay to suck. You can fix suckage. You can’t fix nothing.

I recently heard Candy Havens speak at one of my local chapters. I want to pass on what she taught us.

Repeat after me:

I am a great writer and I fear nothing.

Now say it three times. Look at yourself in the mirror and say it. Look at your Doubt Demon and say it.

Now I’ll say it for you: YOU are a GREAT writer and YOU fear nothing.

Not even Doubt.

Now go take on the page. I have all the confidence in you.

Michelle Miles writes contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance and is published with Samhain Publishing, Cobblestone Press and DCL Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter at @MichelleMiles and “like” her Facebook page at Facebook.com/MichelleMilesRomance. To sign up for her newsletter and read her blog, visit her website at http://www.michellemiles.net .


15 Responses to Writer Inspiration: Have Whip, Will Banish by Michelle Miles

  1. Geri says:


    This could not have came at a better time 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.



  2. Brilliant post! I have whip and said support group! Beat doubt demons, daily!


  3. jbrayweber says:

    What a timely post. I’ve had quite a few doubt demons crowding my personal space lately. Fortunately, I have many fantastic writer friends who are generously supportive. Sometimes the DDs snarl really, really loud. Even with friends, YOU have to take action. YOU have to be the one to take matters in your own hands and dispose of the doubt demons.

    It’s also important to remember all writers feel this way at some time. We are not alone.

    Thanks so much, Michelle!



  4. Great post, Michelle! Never needed it more than I have these last few weeks. And you are a great writer! So keep on keepin’ on.



  5. Kristen says:

    My doubt demon looks like Martha Stewart. She has perfectly coordinated plot charts, character files with matching stickers and folders, and never begins a project without query, synopsis and chapter by chapter outline completed.


  6. I loved your line: “You can fix suckage. You can’t fix nothing.” SO true, Michelle. If we don’t write, how can we ever be published? How can we send out a million query letters if we haven’t written a book, right? I have seen it written so many times: “sit your butt in the chair and write”.


  7. Great post and definitely well-timed. I think doubt is something we all deal with and sometimes not successfully. I promise to use my gun, whip and martini on any future doubt demons who might try to sneak in and derail me. Demons be gone!


  8. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Michelle! I can just see you all Indiana-Jones style, whipping those demons into place!

    My Doubt Demon is handsome and seductive. He sneaks up on me and tempts me to doubt myself every damn day. So hard to resist. So hard not to believe him. That’s when I have to pull out my whip and crack it, at myself as well as him. Even the worse day writing is better than not writing at all. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this and reminding us all to never retreat, never surrender!


  9. I’m so glad this helped everyone. I face doubt every day and it’s ugly. Hopefully by repeating Candy’s mantra, I can beat him.


  10. Kendall Grey says:

    I think the writer support group is the best way to manage self-doubt. You’re right – other people don’t “get it” the way fellow writers do.

    Not sure about everyone else, but writing leads to lengthy spells of both mania and depression for me. I sometimes feel like a yo-yo. Makes you wonder if manic-depressives are attracted to writing or whether being a writer attracts those inner demons – a sort of nature vs. nurture for writers? Hmm…


  11. Kendall – I feel the same way. Total roller coaster. I’m with ya!


  12. Excellent post, Michelle. This is just what I need today as I tackle a project that is kicking my butt. Off to buy a whip…


  13. Laurie Fraser says:

    Michelle, your timing is impeccable! The doubt demon has been on my shoulder all week, not only about writing but pretty much all of the rest of life. It’s good to know all I need is a whip (have the gun and just finished my first martini in years!). What stinks is, whether she meant to or not, one of my writing friends egged on the doubt demon this week. So, off to buy a whip now, think I can get a good used one on craig’s list?


  14. We all need to remember that the Doubt Demons can be defeated, and, once we defeat them, we’ve recommitted to our writing.


  15. Shelley – Get that whip out, girl! 🙂

    Laurie – I can relate. ME TOO. That ugly monster has been hanging around far too long.

    Devon – Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I agree with you. 🙂


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