A Visit from Self Doubt | Blog

Creepy shadow figure - "A Visit from Self Doubt" blog

Here I am, living my life, maintaining a routine, going about my day to day as best as I can, when the old bastard turns up and ruins everything.

He doesn’t even knock first. He just walks right into my house, marches up the stairs, wanders into my spare bedroom where my little desk is set up, and glares at me until I cry.

Even after I’ve managed to compose myself, he hangs around. He loiters behind me, casting a shadow over me whenever I’m trying to write. He whispers things in my ear so quietly that they’re almost imperceptible:

“You’re doing it wrong.”

“Are you trying to fake it ‘til you make it?”

“You’ll never be good at this.”

His words wear me down until I just don’t want to do it anymore. I take myself off to bed in the middle of the day and lose myself in a book, or I while away several hours cleaning – fucking cleaning­, I hate cleaning – so that I don’t have to listen to him.

Occasionally, I’ll throw myself into gardening or I’ll kickstart an unreasonably ambitious exercise routine. Sometimes, I’ll simply take the dog out for an extra-long walk, setting a pace which is a touch too fast for the old bastard so that he is forced to lag behind and his shadow can’t reach me.

I’ll take any and every excuse to be away from my computer and keyboard and to ignore my notebooks and pens.

If I stop writing for long enough, he’ll get bored and wander off. He just lets himself out and meanders off down the street as quietly and easily as when he arrived. But his words still linger.

I try to put fingertips to keyboard and I hear his complaints and snide remarks echo in my mind. Trying to formulate words into sentences feels like wading through treacle.

There will come a day when I manage to post here every day for a month. Just to test myself, just to have fun, just to prove that I can. But June will not be that month.

It’s no big deal. The old bastard Self Doubt pays all of us a visit from time to time. Eventually, though, when he wanders through my front door, I’d like to be able to throw him out on his ear before his whispered words can wear me down.

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. She has published two short story collections - 'Merry Bloody Christmas' and 'Come What May Day'. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition. She can often be found loitering on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott).

12 thoughts on “A Visit from Self Doubt | Blog”

  1. You are talking about the same Old Bastard that visits me from time to time. I wish I had the nerve to kick him in the nuts. But the last time I tried, he came back meaner than ever. LOL

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