ME, MYSELF, AND MY VOICES
As a writers, I’m use to hearing voices, and most I welcome. The strongest voices I hear usually come from my characters. They can be very demanding at times–hard to shut out. Though, when they fall silent, I worry.
Other voices I hear are my internal editor, my cheerleader, which lets me know when I have written something particularly brilliant. My logical voice that quietly reminds me when I’m veering off the beaten path, into the tangled forest.
I trust these voices. They have all helped me become a better writer.
But of all the voices in my head, there is one I could have definitely done without. This little voice was always there, whispering, snickering, trying to bring me down. This particular voice I call my, ‘you can’t’ voice.
It had been with me as far back as I can remember. But I learned to ignore it for the most part, until I decided to write. The idea for my first novel had circulated through my mind for a year before the characters became so loud I couldn’t ignore them any longer. Yet, mixed in with my characters was my, you can’t, voice. As I started to write my rough draft, this voice became louder and louder. It over powered the sound of my characters.
“Who do you think you are?” my, you can’t voice said. “You’re not a writer. You’re going to embarrass yourself.”
Not able to quiet my negative side, I stopped writing. I set my manuscript away in my closet, and tried to forget my dream. But thankfully, my characters couldn’t be silenced by this self esteem, crippling voice. So I started writing again. Right on cue, my inner faultfinder started yapping, pushing me down, criticizing everything I wrote. There were days when I could silence this annoying part of my mind, but never for long. It was always there, lurking for any sign of weakness.
Finally, I finished my rough draft. I sat on it for awhile until I decided to join a critique group. When I first joined I lurked for quit some time before I drummed up enough nerve to submit my first chapter. When I received it back–read what the critter had to say–my cynical voice laughed and said, “What did I tell you? You can’t write.”
Embarrassed and beaten, I again set my manuscript aside, deciding to give it up. Though as the weeks passed, my characters started talking again, demanding I listen to them.
Determined to prove my inner cynic wrong, I signed up for an on-line writing course, and joined another critique group. As I learned, I rewrote my manuscript, and something wonderful happened. I realized I had talent. I realized my story—with hard work–was good.
My self confidence-eating voice is still with me, may never truly leave, but I have learned to ignore it and carry on. Actually, without the pessimistic part of me, I might not have pushed myself to improve.
I would love to hear if any of you have experienced something similar. Do any of you have a, you can’t voice? If so, how do you deal with it?
Thank you for reading. I hope you’ll join me next Saturday. I’ll be talking about what I feel are the benefits of joining a critique group.