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Two Weeks for Self-Doubt

Karin Kallmaker Craft of Writing


You would think, twenty-mumble books later, I would have learned to live with–and plan for–the two weeks of self-doubt. The writers know what I mean. It’s the time period (for me, around two weeks) when everything about the current work is horrid.

It stinks. It’s unoriginal, the characters don’t make sense, the plot is cliche…etc. Every scene seems to repeat the last scene, and the story spins in place.

How can something that happens with every book always come as a surprise? Even in the throes of self-doubt I don’t recognize it.

I’m not sure the book will ever work.
I don’t think I’ll ever be done with it.

About day 13 I think, “Hmm, well, why don’t I read what I have again and see where I’m at?”

That means somewhere on day 14 it all makes sense again. I make myself laugh a few times, find a ton of errors and even when I do find passages that are perfectly awful, they seem simple to fix.

For the latest book, I’m happy to report I like it again. All that’s left is finishing it.

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