Attack of the brain weasels!

And now you’re asking, what the hell is a brain weasel? Good question! At its nasty little coal-black heart, a brain weasel is self-doubt. It’s the little voice that takes rejection personally. It tells you you’ll never be published. It says that you’re not good enough. A brain weasel feeds upon your insecurities and grows. It pulls in things that aren’t writing-related (other things you’re insecure about) until you’re reduced to a quivering mound of pudding, cowering on your sofa watching reruns and eating an entire box of powdered doughnuts.

The second layer of the weasel is self-hatred, source of both the fear of success and the fear of failure. Fear of failure feeds the inner part. I’m not good enough, and I never will be, so I should stop trying before I really crash and burn. Fear of success says it’s all too hard, that even one small victory hides a mountain range of hardships to come, and you’re just not up to the challenge. Give up, give up, they chant together. And then, when you look down at the empty doughnut box, the brain weasels smirk and say: also, you’re fat. *Sigh* Now you have to feel bad about the doughnuts, too.

Now, before the brain weasel has time to grow a third layer, depression, you must fight. You must take up arms against your own brain weasels! You must write! I don’t care if your novel’s going nowhere. I don’t care that you’ve been rejected time and again. Because the brain weasel is you, my friend! It’s all you in your head, and you’re the only one who can fight it!

Novel long and rambly? Tighten your focus. Write a short story or a short scene about one character, one situation, something that will bring you some clarity. Story idea going nowhere? Shelve it! Those aren’t dirty words. If you’re stuck in a rut because your writing isn’t moving just now, move on to something else. Write something you’ve always wanted to write but have been afraid to. Write something that will never see the light of day! If it’s unpublishable, who cares! The point is to have a little fun.

Tell you what, write your little piece of fun, your little dab of silly heaven, and I’ll read it! And I’ll applaud! I’ll give you my email address in the comments if you so wish!

Hot damn! Nothing like making a Patton-like speech to make me excited. I’m off to write a fun little short story based in my (so far) unpublished worlds, that will be completely unsaleable, and I don’t care! Take that, brain weasels!

How will you banish yours? ^_^


17 thoughts on “Attack of the brain weasels!

  1. It’s good to give it a name. My brain weasels come often and even getting good reviews isn’t enough to banish them when I’m having a problem with follow-through and finishing. (I need to buckle down and do it so I don’t start sounding like a one-note whiner.)

    When I took the flash fiction class, he gave us a list of publications that took that format. If you want to work on super short in your release fiction I thought you might find it helpful….

    Apollo’s Lyre, 1000, Open to all genre
    elimae, no limit listed, literary
    Smokelong Quarterly, 1000, literary
    DiddleDog, 1000, Open
    Flashshot, 100, Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery
    Boston Literary Magazine, 250, literary
    Fifty-two Stitches, 750, horror
    Six Sentences, six sentences, literary

  2. Oh my god, those little sneaky evil brain weasels!!! Barbara, I’ve been dealing with them ever since I can remember… They get inside your skin, inside your brain and they talk non-stop, “you’ll never get published, no agent will ever represent you, you’ll never make it, you’re a bad, baaaad writer…”
    I find the only way to get ride of them… is to write. When I stop, I can hear them talk, when I have my novel in my mind, all I can hear is the voice of my characters.

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  4. Ugh, the brain weasels… I’ve had those for a few days now. So far I haven’t banished them today, but tomorrow morning I plan to go to the coffee shop armed with my laptop and an empty bladder (I’m going to need room for a lot of coffee, after all) and force myself to work. I’m going to turn off the wireless as well… usually I need a change of scenery to get rid of the weasels. Stupid weasels, eatin’ all my brain energies.

  5. writing something that feels risky…flash fiction, zombie erotica ;), a screenplay, something so different that the brain weasels get confused.

    Also including special writing “treats” like pens, chocolate chip cookies, and coffee.

    And (oddly enough) picking up 10 things every so often or doing three busywork tasks that I don’t want to do. Since I’m already in a funk, it won’t make me feel worse, and getting things done gives a feeling of accomplishment. or maybe that’s just me.

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