My writing life has been full of monsters.
In the early years of my writing life, these guys sat on my desk to remind me not to be too chicken to write. Every time I sat down at my laptop I felt a shiver of slight fear. Would today be the day I could think of nothing to say? What if no one ever cares about what I'm writing? Fear was my big monster back then, but I conquered it by forcing myself to sit down and write.
Sometimes other people have been the monsters in my writing life. Their discouraging words have echoed in my head--whether it's a line from a bad review, a harsh rejection, a catty remark from a peer or professional--sometimes for weeks or months or even years. Again, the only way to conquer these monsters: keep writing!
We are fortunate as writers to have the ability to slay monsters with our pens. That's why I think the best gift we can give to young people is a journal that we promise never to read!