Every day, the same fear seizes me. I sit at my keyboard, hands poised, and I freeze. And that horrible, whining voice starts in.
“What if you’re not clever enough?” (or funny enough, smart enough, entertaining enough, just fill in the blank) it says, mocking me.
“Do you actually think you can put words into coherent sentences? You actually think you are clever enough to tell a story?”
Every single day, I must find the will to stop this dreadful voice, the voice of my deeptest fears, and continue despite it, drown it out, override it.
It never gets easier.
Desperation, despair, hope. They all mix together as I bleed words onto each screen page. Pieces of my soul I bear for all to see.
Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. But it is October, and it is Golden Heart time once again. My goal is to have my manuscript done and in querying shape by the sort-of-end of November. The Golden Heart offers the perfect excuse to do that–the first 50 pages in tiptop shape, a synopsis, and the whole manuscript on disc.
This is a marathon of willpower. Every day I grit my teeth and sit down. Every day I stay planted. It seems it will never end. There are too many pages, I will never get to the end. There is too much to do, too much to fix, too many glitches to smoothe out. And when I finally type THE END, I worry it will suck so badly I will have to write the entire thing over. Sisyphus and his rock, the eternal climb.
Being a writer means for me that I am always conquering myself. It’s a constant mind workout, a battle between my strong self and my weak self. A constant buckling down, a discipline to keep going regardless of which voice, the Good One or the Bad One, is the dominant one in my head for the day.
Eventually, the story takes over, most of the time, and the voices quiet (the Haldol helps quite a lot, too–just kidding).
Did I also mention the food voices? The ones that cry, get coffee! Get cookies! Chocolate emergency NOW!!! Have to beat those down frequently, too.
Yet we endure this, day after day, because of something–something great that we occasionally partake in. A process of creation. A yearning to tell our tales, to show that flawed people can prevail regardless of what life throws at them. That love brings out the best in all of us. That forgiveness and redemption are priceless.
The messages we are meant to tell, I honestly believe, are more important than all our fears and weaknesses. And that’s the sword I keep by my computer every day.