Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Voices in Your Head

No, no, not those voices.
We all hear those voices.
Yammering, yodeling, ululating, demanding, "write me-me-me."
Impudent lot, I know, slidling up to you while you're cooking, peeking around the bathroom door while you're shaving your legs, breathing heavy and nudging you out of a sound sleep.
Some even bump your pen like a cat when you're working on a scene.
I mean the other set.
Twice as loud as the first cacophony, they can be just as insistent, often in a suggestive, sinister, hypnotic kind of way.
These voices can appear at anytime - but usually after you've finished the opus and have sent it off to reconnoiter like a scout in strange territory.
This moron tabernac choir of doubt demons may announce their presence with an introductory riff.
You read on Miss Snark that one should not put "requested" on a requested full, because some unrequested scumbags think it's cute to do that to evade the slushpile.
"Oh, crap,"moans the lead voice.
The chorus swells after that - like a boil.
They're a great choir - every voice is in perfect harmony.
They croon songs like:
"They filled their category slot for your genre - just before they got to your submission. "
"Your rejection letter - not your MS - is lost in the mail."
"Inspite of your research, they are naive fly-by-nighters who will fold - if they accept your book - sometime around the galley stage."
"Or they will screw you on the contract."
And on and on.
You know the songs. All the songs.
You see trolls under every bridge you haven't crossed yet.
There are writers, I suspect, whose voices crack their knuckles and smirk "Got a winner here, they're going to eat this up."
Siren dreams of best-seller lists dance like lollipops in their heads. A chorus of fans. A perfect pitch.
Icarus of the other extreme - positive thinking without a parachute.
Imagination comes with the territory.
And stuffing your ears with candle wax doesn't help, Odysseus.
Listen to your mother's oracular voice. She's right on key too.
Cross that bridge when you come to it. One step at a time. Don't borrow trouble. All things come to those who wait. Practice makes perfect. Well begun is half done.


Bonnie Calhoun said...

There were no other comments that showed up when I logged on, but I just know someone is going to post before me and I won't be the first.....shut up, You make me, I'll make you Both of you shut up!

I've got three people in here with me so I always hear voices!

Bhaswati said...

Don't most writers relate to this? Those obnoxious voices, and their annoying chorus? Very well put, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Blogger was booger, Bonnie.
You win.

You remind me of the psych 101 version of that song:
"Momma don't allow no schitzoids 'round here..."

"We don't care what Momma don't allow, 'cause we outnumber her anyhow..."

Thank you, Bhaswati.
Noisy lot, aren't they.

Dennie McDonald said...

I hear ya - LOL sorry!

I think that is why we writers like to stick together ... so when you talk about the voices the others just nod. non-writers... they back away slowly w/o sudden movements

Erik Ivan James said...

Yeah, the voices. And they often pick the most inconvenient times to start their jabber.

Bernita said...

Yes, Dennie, absolutely.
Wave lengths.
We are whales communicating by sonic cries.
Those non-writer fingers circling beside their ears gets to us after awhile...

S. W. Vaughn said...

Thank you, Mother. :-) That last bit is sound advice.

Now, to shut those voices up so I can heed Mother's advice. They are loud, aren't they?

Fanstastic post! And so very true.

Bernita said...

Thank you, my child.
Patience is a virtue.
All things come to those who wait.

jason evans said...

I suppose the trick is to weigh the information dispassionately without being lit by the fire in the voices. There's no rule we have to heed or respond to bad advice. Sometimes the ground is real dry though. Fire spreads quickly.

For The Trees said...

me being bipolar, I've listened to those voices ever since I was a kid. I mean, the loudest yells, "You're not responsible!" in six part harmony with ALL the members of my family chiming in. It's insidious.

So I listen to the voices of my characters and ignore the naysayers. Have to, have had to, just to survive.

Ballpoint Wren said...

I never hear these voices. These voices must be only heard by SPECIAL people; people who've actually completed a novel and submitted it!

Some of us would PAY to hear voices like this! In fact, we are jealous you get to hear them and we don't, and now we dislike you very much and are talking about you behind your back.

Candice Gilmer said...

I am Candice, and I admit, I hear voices.

Mine, though, aren't as insistant, in that they're more like a soft whisper, that I strain to hear, rather than a booming choir.

Oh, wait, you're talking about self-doubt, right? :) It's the muses that are so quiet. The other voices, well, we pretend they don't exist.

archer said...

Now, Bernita, do not dis the Sirens. Odysseus stuffed the crew's ears with wax and lashed himself to the mast. That way he could enjoy the Sirens and their ruinously gorgeous music without running his ship aground. This is excellent advice in general.

Bernita said...

We sometimes kid ourselves we are being dispassionate, Jason.

I made one of those voices into a character, Forrest. Not original, I know.

Ha, Bonnie.
Sometimes those little voices are wot prevent someone from ever beginning a novel. They say "what's the use? It'll never get published. It's a waste of time - you should be ironing instead.Everyone will laugh at you. Who do you think YOU are?"... and on and on...

Denial is grossly under-rated as a defense, Candice. Thank you.

Picky, Archer, picky.
Odysseus listened to the RIGHT voices in his head. Fortunately, he ignored and took preventive measures for the voices in his head that said "wow, nice ass!"

archer said...

That's the power and the glory of the Sirens episode. The Sirens are pleasure, from music to the sight of a nice tight butt. The captain chafing at the ropes he has ordered himself bound with, thereby saving ship and crew yet refusing to deny himself the pleasure and pain of the temptation--there, by God, is a man. My idea of one, anyway.

Bernita said...

Why am I tempted to say "irrelevant and immaterial?"

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Anonymous said...

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