Self doubt. What a bitch. And a sneaky French one at that. Here I am, writing along and happy as a lark when Mademoiselle S. Doubt whispers in my ear...
"Ah do not like thees. Eet's too choppy. Eet does not flow. Feex eet."
"Shut up," I say, swatting at her like the gnat she is.
"And thees part, where you... how you say... insert thee backstoree? Thees whole part is merde."
"Go away," I mutter. "I like that part, you Parisian floozie."
"Ah am only tryeeng to help," she says as she flounces off to pout. "I do not want thees storee to fail like zee last dozen."
"It wasn't a dozen and it's not going to fail."
"Such hope you Americans have. So noble and yet so seelee. That agent... Zhree yeers ago? You zhould av leestened to eem. Write non-feection. Much more suiteed to a clerque typeest like you. No?"
"No. And that guy didn't know what he was talking about. Hell, he misspelled 'plausible' in his rejection letter."
"Ah beleeve that was 'implauseeble', because that is what your chanceez of getting published are. Seelee girl."
"Bitch. Other agents have loved my writing."
She smiles so politely, but behind her eyes I can tell she knows she's winning. A lilting giggle bubbles out from between her perfect lips. "Zey were just beeing kind. Eef zey loved your writeeng, you would be working weeth zem, no?"
"The time wasn't right for those books. This one will be the one."
"Whatever you must tell yourself to geet to sleep at night, monchere. Eef you want my advice..."
"I don't, you silly French tart."
"...Ah theenk you zhould erase thees meestake and start over. Your characters? They are flat. Your premeese? Eet is seelee. And your voice? Eet keeps changing from scene to scene. Give up on thees eell-advised writing theeng. Go back to being a secretaree. Maybe the steenkeeng cow place is hireeng. You zhould feet right een there."
I bang my head on the desk a few times, hoping to knock the bitch out of my subconscious. All I end up with is a headache and the growing suspicion she's not going anywhere until after I finish this book and get someone else's opinion. Because you know, when Mam'selle Doubt shows up, your own opinion doesn't seem to matter anymore.
Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to kick some French ass so I can get back to work. It's a never-ending battle, but I'm still winning. And if I ever lose, I can still do better than the stinking cow place. ;o)
Do you battle self-doubt? How's your skirmish going? Ever think you'll win?