A dog named Self Doubt


People recovering from drug or alcohol abuse, or any addiction I suppose, experience a phenomenon referred to as the “pink cloud”. A time when their sobriety seems better than they could have imagined, everything is going so well. It is considered to be a dangerous time because when reality comes crashing in, which it will, it will be a harsh lesson that will test their resolve.

I suddenly feel a hit of reality, like the sting of a face full of cold water, about this new future I’m carving out for myself. And it hasn’t even begun yet.

I have experience with what they call the black dog – depression. If you could draw it it would be a long, black Labrador, draped over your shoulders, weighing you down. Growling in your ear. Sitting on your chest in the early hours of the morning.

This is a whole other dog. Self doubt is a tortured rescue dog. Cowering at every sudden movement. Ears flat against its head, tail between its legs, saucer wide eyes. It is blind terror in the night. It is the violence of a winter storm, the urge to change everything, to erase every footprint, to take it all back. I take it all back! I never could be a writer! I never was this brave! With every thunder bolt cliche in my work I cave back into myself a little more. I likely have no talent at all, I think as I creep, trembling, deeper into the shadows under the bed.

But everyone feels like that, right?

About Rachel Watts

I am a writer from Perth, Western Australia. My speculative fiction novella Survival will be released in early 2018. View all posts by Rachel Watts

7 responses to “A dog named Self Doubt

  • annabelsmith

    Yes, everyone feels like that. I too have the black dog in my life. But even without that, the writing life can be hard. Sometimes it seems so hard I think I must be crazy to keep doing it. But I know how unhappy I would be not doing it – and that would be more crazy. Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  • leatherboundpounds

    Thanks for your comment Annabel, it helps to know everyone is in the same boat.
    I think one day I’ll look back on leaving my day job as either the best or the most stupid decision I’ve ever made. I’m not sure which yet and the suspense is killing me.


  • olsolomeoh

    Big changes always bring big feelings, big everything. But you’ve made a fine decision for all the right reasons; now to make that decision work. As Louisa May Alcott said: “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship.”


  • Jane Bryony Rawson

    Everyone feels like that. Or at least, I usually do, and most of the time. Self-doubt is just part of the gig. You have to keep writing anyway. Tell it ‘thanks, I heard you, but I’m busy writing now – maybe we can discuss this later when i’m done’.

    Liked by 1 person

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