Monday, September 19, 2011

Inner Demons

I think most writers have fought the battle. The internal battle. But I'd never thought much of it until now. I've been a practicing procrastinator for ten years and recently had the brilliant insight that I'd much rather be a writer than a procrastinator! However, there was a reason my procrastinator made himself at home- setting up his tent in my mental front yard. Annoying squatter!

I refer to them as my inner demons. Most everybody is familiar with them, but they seem to battle the most with Artists, or so that's my theory. These are the "voices", sometimes loud and sometimes faint that tell you you're not good enough, that your pride and joy piece of art actually sucks, that you're too slow, and that you aren't a "real" writer. (By the way what is a "real" writer? I have yet to met a fake writer!) These are the constant streams of thought, like a tape recording- running through your mind- sometimes without your awareness. These demons can be paralyzing and I have a sneaky suspicion, are largely responsible for writer's block.

So, as I'm making changes in my life, and starting to write again, I've found these demons resurfacing full force- willing to use biological warfare if needed.

I stare at a blank page.
"There's millions of writers out there. How can you even begin to compete?"
I start anyways.
"That sounds too professional, like you're at work. You've lost your creativity."
I sigh and try again.
"Your style needs adjusting. I'm bored of it."
I finish a page.
"What?!" it taunts. "You think you're the next Nora Roberts?"
That's it. I put it away and get a bowl of cookie dough ice cream.

Score 1 for the demons.
0 for me.
The problem? I BELIEVED those voices, demons, whatever you want to call them.

It was such a faint whisper, but a couple of weeks ago, right before joining GRRWG, I heard a refreshing new voice.
"Maybe you do have some potential as a writer."
It might not sound super positive, it's a bit tentative yet, but it felt like a flash of insight because I BELIEVED that statement.

I still have bad days and battle my inner demons. I still eat ice cream. But I also have a new belief to hold onto and the murmurs of positivity are growing louder, which breeds hope and self confidence. And of course it helps that I'm doing what I love!


Simone Anderson said...

Every artist deals with inner demons, who seek to win by destroying.

It seems to me that those paths that require the person to work alone and deal with on a daily basis not only their emotions but other people's emotions as well are more susceptible to those inner demons than others. Added to that is the fact that we no longer live in society/culture where art in all its forms is truly appreciated. We live in a time where science, logic, and hard, empirical data points to success. Facts that can be corroborated with the emphasis schools place on art and music in relation to other programs - those programs will go before sports or other programs.

All art is interpreted differently to each person at that date and time based on where they are in their lives. Understanding that subjectivity gives those inner demons another foot hold.

For the most part, anything is easier than writing/art, but if the writing/art is that ingrained in you, nothing will ever be as rewarding as writing, as chasing that dream.

The answer, I am finding, to the question do you think you can be the next Nora Roberts is No, I can be me, and me is shooting for the top.

Daily, weekly, and monthly goals, accountability partners, and supportive friends will all help immensely in that dream.

I was at a writers' meeting several years ago and the speaker had each of us say "My name is ______ and I am a writer." It was a way to remind each of us, that we are in fact writers.

A writer is not defined by publication status, but by heart.

And my favorite quote of all:
"The journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step"

I'm glad you are listening to the good guys. You are a writer. You can and should do this.

Patricia Kiyono said...

Ditto what Simone said. We're so glad you've decided to listen to yourself rather than the demons and start writing again! Who needs another Nora Roberts anyway?

Welcome, welcome!

Janna said...

I think you are an amazing writer!! :))))) Not saying that just cause you're my sister either :)