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DSCF0803As I sent the last of my first draft manuscripts out to my beta readers and heard the whooshing sound that my mac provides, telling me it was sent, I had second thoughts. “Oh my God, what have I done? I should have rewritten it again. Everyone will see how badly I write and how boring I can be.  I know I’m very repetitive.  My grammar is awful and my spelling is worse. They’ll hate it, I’m sure. I should have just written it for myself and forgotten the publishing part.”

On and on I went staging a pity party, and doubting myself, until I realized that horrible inner critic of mine was on the prowl, giving me a hard time, and shaking the ground I stood on.  But then I snapped to, and started fighting back.  “It’s just a first draft.  Sure it’s not perfect.  My grammar and spelling stink.  So what! That will all be taken care of later when I hire a professional editor. How would I be able to fix it if I didn’t send it out to others so that they can help? I’m way to close to it right now.  I need to go out and work in the garden or take a walk. And you, Doubting Dotty …  you can just take your words and flush them down the toilet. ”

That tirade continued for another fifteen minutes before I realized that my neck was sinking between my shoulders, I had a headache, and the pit of my stomach was roiling.  It was time to let it go.  I was turning myself into an anxious mess.

I went out into the garden and started removing the dead leaves of the hellebores I so love at this time of year. Their spotted white, pink and purple flowers are a bit late this year. They’d been beaten down and battered throughout our amazingly dark, cold and snowy winter.  They need to bathe in the warm spring light. When I was done they were all standing tall and breathing deeply.

I decided to do the same thing.  Doubting Dotty isn’t in sight and I hope she stays away forever.  But I know all too well, she has a way of sneaking in the back door when I’m not looking.  She’ll probably be back in the near future.  When she shows up again I’ll just go out into my garden, get my hands dirty, and be with my plants.


  1. Joan – Bravo! I admire the way you shifted your perspective. Put those shoulders down and breathe, Breathe, BREATHE 🙂

  2. I can identify with every word Joan. There’s the odd day when it feels like the words have come from someone much more intelligent than I am, and then there’s all the other days when I am embarrassed for myself, for thinking I have a right to write!

  3. Hi Joan,

    Congrats on finishing the draft! Don’t skip celebrating that MAJOR achievement.

    • Thanks Valerie, I’m still celebrating! It feels so good.

      How are you doing? I think of you and your dad often. i hope he’s doing okay.

  4. Good for you , Joan for sending Doubting Dottie packing. I’m 1/3 of the way thorough your first draft and am very impressed with your writing. Congratulations on your great first draft!