Story Doubt: Sunday #ROW80 check-in

Do you ever have story doubt? It’s that moment when, partway through a draft, a voice of doubt starts whispering in your ear. It says this story isn’t strong enough, good enough, deep enough, engaging enough…and so on. I reached that stage with my WIP this week. I’m about a third of the way through the second draft, and that voice popped up. “You should be working on something else,” it whispered.

I know enough now that I can keep going. That voice is, for whatever reason, simply part of the process. There’s nothing wrong with my story that can’t be fixed. And while I do have other WIPs, they’ll just have to wait their turns.

Lastly, this week’s ROW80 check-in…

Writing: Wrote 4,552 words in the second draft of “A Prince in Patience Point.”

Reading: Finished reading “Beautiful Demons” by Sarra Cannon. Started reading “Eldest” by Christopher Paolini.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? Does story doubt ever happen to you partway through a draft? What does your voice of doubt whisper? How do you respond?

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14 thoughts on “Story Doubt: Sunday #ROW80 check-in

  1. Story doubt seems to occur on a regular basis. Whenever I write, that voice comes on without fail. It’s hard to ignore, but I try to push through and write. I tell myself that I can fix whatever doesn’t work.

    • You’re right. That voice really is hard to ignore. Like you I have to tell myself that if there’s something wrong with the story–and there will be–I can fix it later. Then I have to keep writing! It’s tough at times, but I feel better if I just push through the doubt and get some words on the page.

  2. Yup, I think every writer hears that voice of doubt at some point in every piece they work on. I think I would freak out if I didn’t hear that voice. Of course, it would also be nice if that voice didn’t plague me quite so much.

    • In a way that voice is probably good for us. It keeps us on our toes; it gets us asking tough questions of our stories. If we harness that doubt, we can use it to grow as writers. But we can’t allow it to stop us in our tracks. And that takes practice.

      Yeah. It would be nice if that voice could be a little quieter. For me, it hasn’t necessarily become quieter over the years, but I do know how to manage it better.

  3. Story doubt and I have coffee daily! I usually nod my head until it is done spewing its nonsense, and then I punch it in the face. I mean, I then write. Because, it is nonsense and once I have coffee in me, I’m powered up to write! Usually, when it flaps its gums, it says stuff like I’m boring and the story is stupid. It has the mind of a five-year-old. Kudos for ignoring the stupid! 🙂

    • Yep. Coffee daily–sounds about right. I’ll be typing away one day, and the next that voice is telling me this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever written. Not really sure why that voice pops up, but it seems to be an unavoidable part of the creative process. Ignoring it can be hard, but once I push past it, I feel so much better.

      Have a great week, Gloria!

  4. Oh I have story doubt all the time. It often follows a time when I LOVE the story and think it’s the best thing ever. It’s almost as if it rears its head as soon as it realises that I’m having a good time with the current WIP.

    Glad you’re pushing on though, and not listening to that pesky voice!

    • I hadn’t thought about it, but yes, story doubt does tend to follow a period when I really love my story. I’ll be enjoying the story one day and doubting it the next. I wonder why that is.

      Thanks, Celine! 🙂

  5. Eldest is really good, Denise!

    Oh and I am also struggling with story doubt as a input my edits and begin my re-write of The Real Road Trip. I think you will get past it. You will beat the beast and figure out what you need to make the story work. I hope I will get past my hump.

    Here’s to a productive week!! ~hugs~

    • I’m only about 100 pages into “Eldest,” but so far I’m enjoying it. Wonderful world-building!

      Good luck with your rewrite of “The Real Road Trip.” Doubts seem to plague us at every stage of the writing process–from that stumbling first draft to the problem-solving that comes with later drafts. Here’s hoping we both fend off doubt and complete our drafts!

      Thanks. You too! 🙂

  6. Nearly every story I write comes with a few of those moments. I tend not to pay a lot of attention. My stories are always character-driven, and my characters are a lot more insistent than that silly voice.

    • You’re right. Our focus should be on our characters. Sometimes I find these doubts are telling me something–mostly, that I’m not listening enough to where my characters want to go or where they would go based on their personalities. Sometimes doubt is a warning that I need to back up and find a spot where the story went off track. But in this case I’m just going to push forward and see where I end up.

      Have a great week, Shan Jeniah!

  7. LOL I get story doubt with every project! It usually says something like “This sucks. You should quit. Go play Clash of Clans or something more productive.” CoC is a pretty big temptation, but my main argument with the voice is “but writing is fun, too!” and it works most of the time! Good job on your goals and keep up the good work!

    • Yep. Every project for me, too. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just part of the process. Clash of Clans is a great temptation. For me, it’s Pinterest. It’s so easy to pin pictures of faeries or recipes I want to try as opposed to facing that doubt head on and forging ahead.

      Thanks, Jennette!

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