Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Got Ugly Voices? Kick Their Teeth In!

It still happens, every single time. Whether I'm submitting a poem to a contest, writing a query for my latest revised novel, or pressing "send" on a job proposal through a free-lance writing site, I hear those ugly voices.

You know them. If you are human, you have heard them yourself.

Mine are vicious. They say things like, "You know nobody's going to hire you," and "It's not like your novel is even worth reading," and "Your poetry/writing/blogging/hair/talent/voice/etc. just SUCKS!" They are insidious, taking little fears and blowing them up into cataclysms, trying to convince me that this one e-mail submission will absolutely RUIN my chances of EVER making it in the real publishing world.

Yours are unique to you, I am certain, but they cover the same sort of ground, saying everything they can to tear down your dreams, to keep you from taking chances, to make you crawl into a fetal position on the living room rug and stay there for the rest of your life.

They will drive you insane.

The solution? You KNOW what it is! You have mad karate skills, honed through practice and perseverance. So use those skills, and beat the snot out of these voices. Kick them in the teeth. Pull out their hair. Punch them again and again and again until they fall down or hop out of the ring. This is war.

As they grin at you, slicing at you with fear and criticism, bobbing and weaving, talking their trash, instead of trying out that fetal position, do the very thing they say you can't do. Submit your work. Finish that supposedly "crappy" novel. Write another sucky poem, and another, and another. Practice singing until you are hoarse. Play piano until your hands cramp. Try for that out-of-reach job. Kick them in the teeth enough times, and their teeth will either break into little pieces or they will simply GO AWAY.

Don't go insane. Don't let the voices take over. Don't be afraid. Embrace your fear, accept it for what it is--fear--and go on. I feel that fear every time, but I've decided that the more times I feel it, the more I'm working towards my dreams. I do submit carefully, but the point is that I still submit.

Funny word, submit. I wonder what I'm really submitting to...


  1. Oh those pesky voices . . . . I hear you! (and I hear them).

    If it makes you feel any better, they don't go away, even after you're published.


    But I am getting better at ignoring her. I say "hush up, I know what I'm doing."
    and she says, "Ha! you only think you do!"
    And I say, " I got this far, and you're getting me nowhere, so I'm gonna keep ignoring you because that's what works."

    Lucky for me, I work from home so nobody is around to give me funny looks while the conversations are going on.

  2. I'm fortunate to be able to speak aloud to them, too... although I have to be quieter when the kids are sleeping.

    Perhaps once one is published one only has to hear a single voice. Sometimes I feel as if five are pinching and wheedling at me. Like a bunch of whiny, mean dwarfs who, instead of taking care of me in their little house, find me a nuisance and can't wait for the witch to come by with an apple.