November will mark two years since I left my magazine writing job to write fiction full time. (I was writing fiction part time before then.) I’ve grown in so many ways since that time, started so many new projects, and really found my voice as a writer.

And there’s one phrase I’ve found myself repeating over and over. It’s a mantra that keeps me sane and helps me fend off Doubt Demons—who always seem to be lurking in the shadows.

“I can fix this.”

If it weren’t for those words, I might have given up long ago. There have been plenty of moments when the Doubt Demons have whispered, “But what if you can’t?” And I’ve simply repeated the words “I. Can. Fix. This.”

As long as I keep putting words on the page, I’ll have something to edit. Nora Roberts said, “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.”

This is the process. We write. We have doubts. We struggle. We write something that, inevitably, needs work. We rewrite. We find more spots that need improvement. We do this until the story sings.

I’ve been using this phrase a lot over the last few days. I’ve been struggling with a story I’m writing, and those Doubt Demons are whispering nasty nothings in my ear. But I can’t fix a story I haven’t written. I can fix a scene that doesn’t work, dialogue that feels flat, or a character whose actions don’t sync with her personality. I can fix a lot of things.

So if it’s not working, I keep writing. Because I can fix it.

And now, my ROW80 check-in…

Writing: Wrote 1,123 words in “A Prince in Patience Point.”

Reading: Continued reading “Eldest” by Christopher Paolini.

A side note: As you can see, the website has a spiffy new look. Many thanks to Robin Ludwig for the header design!

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? What words or phrases do you find yourself repeating throughout the creative process?