Meet Our Common Foes: The Doubt Demon and The Imposter Syndrome Shoulder Angel

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We as writers struggle enough with writer’s block, and we sometimes let the thoughts and opinions of others in. But nothing is worse than being in your own head, dealing with pests deep within our subconscious. It’s perfectly normal to feel bouts of overwhelm, many beginnings are. It’s important to recognize and identify the common enemies to The Writer.

The Doubt Demon is a nuisance who haunts us. Their job is to plant seeds of doubt–another writer writes better, our fears restrict us, etc. I’m telling you as your coach to not breathe life into this demon. Do not water those seeds. 

When you find yourself in the presence of that nasty Doubt Demon, who encourages you to think, “I doubt I can do anything about this.”

I want to challenge that Doubt Demon with, “What is one small step that you can take to get you back on the path you belong on?” 

The Imposter Syndrome Shoulder Angel is a not at all as it seems. Tch, no angel at all. Imposter. I’m just going to come right out and call a spade a spade. They come in and make you feel like you’re not going to be successful, or that you’re just getting by with a stroke of luck. That’s not true. Remember that this is you and your brilliance at play, your fingers behind the keypad crafting literary gold. 

Imposter Syndrome Shoulder Angel makes you feel, “I can’t write 70,000 words for my work. That’s too much! I’m not good enough, it’ll never happen.”

So, let’s challenge this Angel, “Can you cut that in half? 35,000 words for part one and 35,000 for part two?”

A little more doable, right?

Let’s kick this up a notch and make the Angel sweat its Icharus-wax wings, “Each chapter will be 3,000 words and will contain all of topics a, b, and c.” 


Smaller steps trek greater goals. Unless you choose to stop and welcome The What-If Fairy.

The What-If Fairy is not a good fairy. Best friends with The Doubt Demon, and cousin of The Imposter Syndrome Shoulder Angel, it wreaks havoc in its path, destroying your confidence in the process.

“What if I’m really not good enough?” It makes you think.

Listen, we all have insecurities. We’re human.

Let’s ask, “What are you really afraid of?” Because once you honestly answer that, and have a little more security under your belt, that confidence is unstoppable.

Maybe your fear is, “I’m afraid my rough draft is too rough.”

Your editor replies, “Rough drafts are meant to be rough. That’s okay. Keep going. We’ll handle it together.”

That’ll really make that What-If Fairy shake.

That may look like the fear of finishing. The fear of beginning. The concern of unrelatable characters. Whether or not you’re showing or telling. Overusing words, repetition, the concerns are endless. And all perfectly normal.

It’s important to be comfortable and confident in this quest. You’re going to meet all kinds of sidekicks and foes on your journey. Once you identify them, ask yourself what kind of company you wish to travel with. Each page is another step closer.

1 comments on “Meet Our Common Foes: The Doubt Demon and The Imposter Syndrome Shoulder Angel”

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