Hmmm. I’m sitting at my dining room table, finishing the third massive tome in the Game of Thrones series. I should be writing, but I’m reading instead, which I tell myself is research. Gotta stay current in the field, even if I never plan to write a lick about dragons.
What’s really going on, aside from a well-earned rest after finishing my novel, is the Voices. The Voices are not my friends. They live in the back of my mind, in a small trailer park filled with prickly sticks, and they poke at my brain whenever I have a spare minute. They are loud. They play bad country music. They eat junk food.
The Voices are the ones whose whispers are louder than my own real, tangible voice sometimes. They try to act all casual, like they don’t really have anything important to say, but then they’ll throw things out like “Probably nobody’s going to read it anyway” or “what makes you think you’ve got talent?” and my own personal favorite, “It’s just going to lead to another rejection.”
You might have some of these unseemly bastards camping out in your subconscious too. They’re like annoying relatives: you can’t get rid of them because they’re part of you but you try to ignore them as best you can. One day you find they’ve eaten all the bread and milk, and used up all the toilet paper, plus wrecked your car and sold your cat for scrap. They’re sneaky.
I believe that self doubt is a slinky companion to most writers, probably because we work so much in isolation. Writing is a lonely endeavor, and writing a novel is even lonelier because you may labor on a piece for years and end up with something you don’t even particularly like. You still love it, like an ugly baby. But still, it’s disappointing. And the publishing industry isn’t much help on this score. With fewer and fewer bookstores (Borders closed! It’s the apocalypse!) and the literary world all in upheaval over digital and electronic rights, nothing but the most amazing and outstanding and unique pieces are published now. (Except that I still see these books that are crap. How is that possible? Does that mean my books are even MORE crappy than those books? See. The Voices again. They are so damned insidious.)
Whenever I have some down time, these Voices crop up. I am trying to learn to ignore them more effectively, because all they do is decimate my dedication and eviscerate my self esteem. They serve no useful purpose. So today, I am kicking them out. I am serving them an eviction notice. I am sending a tornado to the trailer park.
I will do this with the following mantra and dedication: I will not worry. I will write and write well, as well as I can. I will listen to my heart and my mind and my instincts, but I will not listen to the Voices.
What does your subconscious whisper to you in those long silences?