Sunday, April 1, 2012
Battling our Doubtful Voices
I want to thank DB Dean for this excellent and creative blog which deals with our (often less than encouraging)
Please comment below on the battle with your inner, doubtful voice...
I see the question “why do you write” asked often. New authors, old authors and those hoping someday to be authors are asked that question by interviewers, readers, family and friends. Why do you spend so much time working at something that may never be published? Why do you open yourself up to rejection and critique?
I ask myself this question every time I sit down to write. Writing time is time away from my kids and husband. It is time away from the gym (it’s the stories fault my butts so big!)…
But in the end, my answer is, I write purely for myself. This should make me happy no matter what happens to my writing.
But, even though I write just for myself, no editors, publishers or agents critiquing my every word, I still struggle. Each time I sit down at the computer, I hit this wall of self-doubt and fear.
You’re a writer, you know that doubt, that fear. You know the sometimes crippling thoughts that overwhelm you as you sit down to breathe life into your story. Overcoming the negative voices can take an act of God, some good medication or a healthy dose of fermented courage. Or you can play the sort of mind games I do each night.
Imagine a nice wood cabin in the mountains. There is a fire throwing up soft warm yellow light into a warm room of browns and greens. On the tables and book shelves are bright spots of flowers in vases, colorful yarns in wickers baskets over flowing alongside well-worn and cherished books. This is what I like to think the inside of my mind looks like. Silly I know, but it does help put me in the writing mood.
Sitting at the desk next to the bay window is a somewhat plump, curvy woman with long dark hair. She wears plaid pink pajama bottoms, fuzzy slippers and a tank top. Next to her, sitting on the edge of the writing desk is a tall slender woman, hair perfectly done up in a French roll. She has on a classic grey straight line dress, no sleeves, empire waist (the sort of thing a plump curvy girl could never wear), matching heels and clutch (for the boys reading this, I am told that’s a really small purse you can’t fit anything in but matches your outfit). She holds a martini glass in her hand and sneers down at the writer in pink pajama bottoms.
"Silly, silly girl, who would want to read that drivel. You are wasting your time. You will never be a writer..."
"But I love writing, it makes me happy. And I think I might be good at it."
"Good at it? You’re not good at anything. Okay, you can take care of babies pretty good, you pop them out like a pro, but you’re not really good at things that matter, darling."
This goes on for awhile...until SHE shows up. Her jeans are a bit tight; she is wearing a shirt much too low cut with cleavage exposed that would make the strongest of men weak. Her cowboy boots are worn and she has some mud smeared on the thigh of one leg from working in the fields. She has had too much of Gentlemen Jack over ice and her voice is a tad too loud.
"Hey prissy pants...shut the hell up and let the girl write."
"I beg your pardon."
Country girl turns to the plump writer, “Well bless her heart, I had no idea she was deaf…”
“I can hear just fine…it’s just a bit hard to understand you through that white trash accent”
"Let me translate…Get the hell out of here before I kick your ass....go on, get a move on. Go on."
She leans menacingly over Miss Priss who sighs dramatically, "Peasants", sashaying her perfectly toned butt from the room.
"Go on now girlfriend, get writing...the witch is gone....want some Jack? Okay, now tell me what happens next? Last time I was here, you had the main character about to get busy with the hot soldier..."
Yes, I know I have one or two issues. You could say that in fact I have the whole freaking subscription. But this post isn’t about my budding alcoholism nor my bitterness towards woman who look good in high wasted straight line dresses (my inner critic looking a lot like Jackie O, Audrey ah la “Breakfast at…” and every other movie star who embodies poise and perfection.)
I’m not going to impart some ancient wisdom about writing. I don’t have any real answers. I am not published, but I am a writer. Not an “Aspiring Writer” or “Future Author”. I am a Writer. Someday my words may grace the pages of a book on a book shelf, or perhaps be downloaded into the latest iPad…but that is not why I write.
I love to write. I love reading bits that I forgot I have written (perhaps because Gentlemen Jack was whispering in my ear) and thinking…damn that’s good. I love giving life to the crazy voices in my head. I write because I have no other choice; snotty Urban Socialists be damned.
D. B. Dean,
Girl Friday By Day
Mother, Wife and Writer by Night
The Average Girl Next Door
Works by D.B. Dean on Thinking Ten
ThinkingTen - A Writer's Playground (Academic Edition): Collections (Volume 1)
Ribbons & Ivy by D.B. Dean on the Glasscoin