I am a writer.
Who am I to call myself a writer?
I have zero training. What do I know about writing?
Why would anyone want to read this?
I really suck.
I have no business posting this.
I certainly can’t link up and put it out there for these people to read.
They are actually good.
I should delete everything I typed.
I’m a failure.
I should quit.
* * * *
Does any of this sound familiar?
I hear it.
Every day I write.
My inner voice.
Sometimes it’s a simple whisper in my head. I ignore it. Mostly.
Other times it resembles the taunting child, singing “Yooooou suuuuuu-uck!” The doubts begin.
But the worst are the bullhorn cries, sounding oddly like R. Lee Ermey (the drill Sergeant in Full Metal Jacket - or the plastic army leader in the Toy Story movies). Hopelessness takes over as my inner voice screams at me.
“What is your major malfunction?! You think you can write? My little pinky knows more about writing than you! No one will read this cesspool of cow dung and if they do, they’ll want to be paid back for the precious minutes of their life you flushed down the toilet!”
The words ricochet in my head and my index finger hovers over the delete key, ready to erase hours of work based on the ranted self doubts.
But I stop.
What if the voice is wrong? What will I learn if I don’t take a leap and hit publish?
Absolutely nothing. Except how to quit.
It shouts the loudest when I am tired, as the clock advances into the next day.
Especially for writing prompts. They give me a chance to stretch, explore, probe, grow, learn, and dabble.
The unknown is terrifying, but exhilarating.
I welcome the constructive criticism, taking the words to heart. I give concrit in return -unsure of the reception it will receive.
And I hear it.
The inner voice.
“Why are you giving concrit? You don’t know anything about writing! Who are you to be telling a superior writer what they should change? You didn’t even know memoir had to be nonfiction!”
I want to leave and never show my face again. And yet.
My writing has changed. It’s improved. Tighter. Cleaner.
So I suck it up, adding it to the growing pile of Never Going to Do This Again.
I write. Whether I want to or not.
I hear it. The inner voice.
Only now when it shrieks? I tweet for reinforcements: my writing partners. I trust them. They come prepared with rolls of duct tape to shut up the inner voice.
And so far? They haven’t told me to delete everything.
I’m starting to think my inner voice is only a bully blowing hot air. All because I refused to let Delete This Crap win in the early battles over Click Publish.
And if I’d listened? If had caved to my own peer pressure? I wouldn’t be here today, writing a post about writing on a writing site run by real writers who actually know what they’re doing.
As opposed to me. Ahem.
Because my inner voice wonders how my name even ended up in the hat.
Time to dig out the duct tape again.
Kelly K writes at Dances with Chaos, Writing with Chaos, and founded I survived the Mean Girls.