I was listening to a podcast called Write Now the other day and I’ve been binging pretty hard on the backlist. I love the advice she has because even when I disagree with it it’s making me think about whatever the subject is. I even love the interviews, which I have to be honest, isn’t usually the case. I usually find interviews to be kind of awful on podcasts, but I suspect that’s just me. But I like Sarah’s interviews. She calls them Coffee Talk, and that’s really what it feels like. Just kind of hanging out and listening to friends chat.
One of the episodes is titled Self Talk. It’s about how you talk to yourself as an author, and I really really had to be honest with myself. I am not so great at this.
Now, unlike Sarah in the podcast, I don’t usually tell myself things like ‘you suck.’ or ‘why did you think you could do this?’ But I do something at least as destructive, I think, if not worse. I say why bother?
Oh man, the insidiousness of that one. Why bother if nobody’s going to read my book? Why bother if it’s costing me more to get my work out there than I’m making? Why bother if nobody’s going to like my work? Why bother if this excuse or that excuse? It’s endless and unrelenting and absolutely brutal, and the Anxiety Gnomes bitch in with everything they’ve got once I start going down that road.
And it’s such total bullshit.
Why bother? Because. Words and pictures are basically the two best, most direct ways for a human being to get information directly from one brain into another one. Because since I’m not very skilled at pictures, words are my best bet and I promise you I am full of words. Because stories are how my brain works, why I’m alive, and how I get through every single day. Even if only one person reads my book (though I hope it’s more!) that’s one other person on Earth that has shared one of my stories, and that connects me into the bigger world.
Also, I sound a lot less crazy if I talk about my characters instead of just the voices in my head…
So instead I’m trying out different things to say when I catch myself thinking these things. I’m trying out phrases more along the lines of ‘Well, this is a neat idea’ and ‘someone will enjoy this one’ and ‘if I can amuse even one person the way other authors have amused me, then that’s the goal.’ I know it’s cheesy as hell and makes me feel kinda ridiculous, but it beats the heck out of talking myself into inaction. And anything I can do to stick it to the Anxiety Gnomes has to be a good idea, right?