The voices in my head

Do you have a voice that tells you that you can’t?

  • Can’t write.
  • Can’t get in shape.
  • Can’t fix what’s broken.
  • Can’t be successful.
  • Oh, and your blog sucks, too.

Interestingly, the more positive things that I do, the louder voice.

I imagine that my Saboteur looks something like Snidely Whiplash

I imagine that my saboteur looks something like Snidely Whiplash

Here’s a snippet of a recent conversation between myself and my saboteur:

Saboteur:  Hey, dumbass.

Me:  What?  I told you that I’m busy writing.

Saboteur:  Writing.  Right.  If that’s what you want to call it, Hemingway.

Me:  Yeah, that’s what I call it.  Writing.

Saboteur:  Anywho, I was just thinking that maybe me and you should get caught up on our Millionaire Matchmaker and L.A. Shrinks.  You know Patty is getting engaged, right?  And we could take a nice long nap between shows.  Maybe play some pinball on the iPad.

Me:  Maybe later.  I’ve got a head of steam and I want to crank out another chapter by Wednesday.

Saboteur:  Right.  About this writing thing.  I was just thinking.  I mean, who is going to want to read that garbage anyway?  Besides you, of course.  You know how self-absorbed you are.  It’s always me, me, me.  My hair’s on fire.  Put me out.

Me:  Lots of people.  Everyone in my writers’ group seemed to like it.

Saboteur:  Of course they did.  They have to say that.  It’s in the bylaws.  Plus, they probably feel sorry for you.  Forty-six years old and look at you.  Writing stories about your stupid, pitiful life.

Me:  Ok, there are no bylaws.  I think.  And, people love my stories.

Saboteur:  If by “love” you mean “are repulsed by,” you are correct.

Me:  Go away!

Saboteur:  Never.

 * * *

My saboteur seems to feed on self-doubt, which means that all of his meals are super-sized these days.

But here I sit, plugging away.  Trying to quiet the voice with the click clack of my keyboard.  It works sometimes.

On other days, I don’t know why I bother.  There are episodes of Hoarders that I haven’t seen.  And, I deserve a nap in the middle of the day.  I am 46 years old, after all.

My Savior?  She’s all Wonder Woman all the time.

Luckily, there is a quiet voice that comes from deep down inside that tells me that I can.  It tells me to keep writing.  Keep at it, kid.  What do you have to lose?  You can do it.  Always could.  You just haven’t figured that part out yet.  But, you will.  You most certainly will.

How about you?  Do you have a saboteur voice?  A savior voice?  What do they sound like?  What do they tell you?  Do you listen to them?

26 responses to “The voices in my head

  1. I don’t have either voice, really. I *do* have a tendency to be a bit OCD in my editing process though. Edit, revise, tweak, reword, delete… Delete, delete, delete… Start over, rewrite, revise, edit, etc.

    Unless my ADD is kicking in. In which case, I forget to edit *at all* because I wander off in search of my long lost popcorn machine…

    Or something.

    But Wonder Woman’s voice is way sexier than Snidely. So hopefully that’s enticement enough to listen to your savior. 😉

  2. If you want, I’ll punch your saboteur right in the nose for you. I’ve got a pretty good right hook. 🙂

  3. I can totally relate, I’ve been working on a book for about 6 years and by working on it I mean, I started it 6 years ago, then all hell broke loose when i came out and have been struggling ever since to find the time to pick it back up again. Keep your nose to the grindstone and get ‘er done !!

  4. The Femmetastic Feminist

    I once had a wonderful psychologist who told me to name the voice in my head as “the critic” and to only listen to it for a moment and then tell it to shut the hell up.

  5. I don’t have a voice, but I get bored. I was recently working on a book but it just seemed like things kept happening to keep me from writing it. I missed placed the notebook a few times, it got wet somehow so now I have to go back a rewrite the whole thing. Granted I wasn’t very far in, only like 3 chapters, but it just seems like the universe is trying to tell me something. Plus I got like ridiculous writer’s block after that third chapter…

  6. The best way to quiet the saboteur is to succeed. And you can, and will. Just don’t give up.

    • Thanks. I’m diligently writing one new chapter or chapter portion a week. It’s a challenge with all of my other responsibilities such as “real” writing, which pays the bills.

  7. I so relate! My saboteur hasn’t, so far, been focused on my professional accomplishments, but on my person. Maybe because I’ve poured all of my focus for two decades into my school/work, in part, to defer having to focus on me. Whatever the reason, my critic/saboteur usually results in me speaking/thinking unkindly about myself. With the help of some great friends, I’m learning to tell that critic to stuff it. Sounds to me you’re making progress against Snidely. Good onya. Go, you!

  8. This post by Gemma Hawdon made me think about the saboteur in a different way – as a helpful best judge rather than just a snidey critic!:

  9. I love this post, I have been suffering with a saboteur voice a lot lately especially when it comes to blogging. For some reason I feel like I have lost a bit of my mojo. Do you ever look back at old posts and think they sound soooo good and then look at the one you’ve just written and feel disappointed? I’m getting it a lot lately. :/ Unfortunately I have yet to find my savior voice, LOL! Some days you can look at your writing and feel really proud and others as you say you are so filled with self doubt and can’t find anything wrong with it.

    • I can’t say that I ever go back and look at my old posts. I think that would just drive me nuts, and I’d want to re-write everything.

      But yeah, some posts are definitely better than others. And I get in that rut where I feel like everything that I write is crap.

      I think you just have to push through it and write, write, write. (And put your saboteur in a box if you can.) Or, give him a silly name like Sir Downerpants III. Then you can erase his power and just laugh in his face.

      • Ha ha Sir Downerpant III, love it! Hmm yeah that was probably my mistake, I definitely felt like I wanted to tweek some of them but then refrained.

        Of course, nobody can be amazing all the time, I think sometimes we are too harsh on ourselves!

      • I actually read an article that suggested giving our inner critic a silly name. But sir Downerpants is all mine (trademark pending).

        You’re right … No one can be amazing all the time. If so, there would be no such thing as amazing. Ben Affleck directed Argo and Gigli after all. And Sly Stallone was in Rocky and everything other than Rocky.

      • Haha trademark duly noted!

        True, very true. 🙂

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