Thursday, February 10, 2011

The evil voice in your head must be stopped!

It's easy to get discouraged as a writer --- aspiring or published. The grass is always greener, right? When you're unagented or unpublished, all you want is to achieve that next step. When you have an agent or book deal, you wish you didn't have so much pressure, so many deadlines. And when your book comes out, you wish it sold more copies or got fewer negative reviews.

For most of us, there's that tiny voice in our head telling us that we should try harder and do better, that our writing is crap, that we'll never succeed.

Tell that voice to shut up.

For real.

Even if you're one of those super-polite, classy people who doesn't say "shut up." This deserves an exception.

You're on one of the hardest journeys of your life. The odds are stacked against you, and yet, you persevere. It's time to be happy for what you do achieve, because those things matter, no matter how small.

See, this guy's happy. He wants you to be too!
For example, instead of getting discouraged because I wish I had more time to work on my newest project, I'm happy because I want to spend every minute of every day perfecting it. What if I didn't have an idea that sparked such passion? That would be even worse!

And I appreciate that my Future Husband* is willing to take on more housework so that I can squeeze in every spare moment to write.

And that I have the most incredible cheerleading team in the FNC, and they keep me going when I get stuck and angsty.

And, heck, I FINISHED A NOVEL. And I love it and am so very proud of it.

And I've busted my butt to learn everything possible about the industry, and that knowledge gives me confidence.

I have every reason to be happy, and so do you.

Happiness is all about perspective. It's a choice, one we sometimes forget to make. And if all else fails, wine usually helps.**

What achievements are making you warm and glowy today? Shout it from the rooftop, but if your rooftop is unstable or inaccessible, or the very thought of climbing up high makes you dizzy with fear, then leave it in the comments. I want a feel-good fest in there!

* Four months! Ahhhh!
** Ok, this is way more emotional than we usually get here on the FNC blog (and it's probably kinda cheesy), but sometimes this journey gets emotional, and despite all the practical advice in the world, this is what we need to hear!


  1. First, best wishes on your upcoming wedding (I learned from a Gilmore Girls episode that you say Best Wishes to the bride and Congratulations to the groom, at least according to Emily Gilmore).

    Second, thank you for the encouragement! I love my story idea and have had so much fun collaborating with my husband on the plot and traits of the characters. I'm in the early stages of editing, and this is my first time with all of it, totally green, but I'm having fun. I have a whole rough draft that I'm proud of. It's a start!

  2. Adorable puppies always bring levity. And so do upcoming weddings, congrats!

    So, I have a voice in my head I need to tell to shut the HECK up:

    The voice wears a nun costume and impersonates a very tall, red-headed nun who, in 11th grade AP English, after requesting to read my journal of personal poetry (because my last poetry assignment I did SO blew her away), reads the first few lines, inhales, exhales, pauses and retorts:

    "Well. I guess I was expecting something... better. Something more. Like what you did for class. This—THIS—this is just juvenile."

    Imagine that. Writing juvenile poetry at age 16. And yeah, it was a love song to my boyfriend. *blush*

    I need to do more than tell that voice to shut up. I need to set fire to it and watch it burn a slow death. A couple of times.

  3. That is the cutest picture I've ever seen in my life!

  4. Oh, I love this post and that adorable puppy! Thanks for the encouragement. It's true-- it's so easy to get down and not celebrate all the achievements. I guess today I am happy because my goal is always to write 1,000 words a day and yesterday I wrote 1,277. Pop the champagne! ;-)

  5. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for the reminder : )

    OMG, I so want that pupppy!

  6. I'm tempted to leave you links to pictures of cute baby animals because whenever I feel down, that always cheers me up!

    No real achievements have made me warm and glowy, but relaxing with some old Buffy reruns have :D

  7. Stephsco - Thank you! And love the Gilmore Girls quote. A rough draft is definitely something to be proud of!!

    Kate - Puppies and otters always make me happy. Weddings are a lot of work! hehe. That nun story -- eek! I'm sure my teachers would've said the same thing if they read my diary or my terrible high school poetry. I will provide matches for the evil voice bonfire!

    Kim, Melissa, Paula, and Nikki - I replied via email!

  8. Great advice. I try to remind myself that I am moving forward and not beat myself up about it feeling slow.

  9. Very cool post which I'm sure every writer can relate to. Anybody who does anything even slightly creative will have that nagging voice in their head. It's important to turn if off and say 'I'm going to do my best.' It works for me and also keeps procrastination at bay.

  10. Every day when I hit the save button I know I just improved my MS. It may not be good yet, but it's slowly getting there.

    I also love it when a cool new idea hits me. (Unfortunately, that doesn't happen as often as I would like!) It's exciting to think of what I can do with the new idea. And who can feel bad when brainstorming is going good?

    Thanks for the pep talk!

  11. I'd say that I decide I suck and my novel sucks with every fifth or sixth rejection I get. And then I reread my novel and realize it's pretty good and I should shut up and keep trying. Heh! So yeah, I'm with you!!

  12. Natalie & Jennifer - I replied via email!

    D.U. - It's definitely the bane of a creative person's existence -- and so is procrastination! The internal motivation has to be very, very strong to persevere!

    Nicole - Oh yeah, that's something familiar. After a long break from my first novel, I opened it expecting to hate it and find terrible flaws... and I fell in love all over again! What a great feeling.

  13. YAY, DONNA! Finishing a novel is an accomplishment. I finished one too!

    Ha. The voice in your head may be tiny, but mine's too freakin' LOUD. I have a hard time shutting it up. Substitute chocolate for wine and I'm with you.

    Thanks for the advice. You're very lucky.

    Oh, and hang onto Future Husband. He sounds like a keeper!

  14. I love telling my mouthy evil muse to shut up. This is a habitual ritual for me.

  15. I've definately told that evil little voice to stuff it at least a few times. Congrats to you, and best wishes to all the other writers here.

  16. Joanne and Regina - Your reply is via email!

    Gina - Heck yeah!


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