Skip to main content

That Little Voice

Sometimes when I write there's a little voice that tells me that no one is going to care about what I have to say. It asks me who is going to read this blog about writing, let alone care about what's written there. It asks me why anyone would want to read my prose at all, let alone pay for it.

It's a constant voice of doubt.

Hell, even as I'm writing this, I'm telling that little voice to shut the hell up every time it suggests I delete all of this and start this post over from scratch and pick a different topic. One that exposes less vulnerability.

But it's something that I would assume every writer deals with. It's that voice that says you're not good enough. The one that tells you not to worry about submitting the story to the publisher. The one that tells you it doesn't matter if you finish that novel. Or screenplay. Or whatever.

That little voice is a total asshole.

And my suspicion is that you shouldn't listen to him. (Or her. It can be female, too.)

In fact, that's part of what my goal in 2016 is going to be, to tell that voice to go straight to hell. There are so many things I've wanted to do in this space and for other writers that that voice tells me no one would care about. More writing prompts, more video blogs, more advice. If you want that sort of thing, anyway. That voice in my head keeps telling me that I don't have anything to add to the subject, that anything I say will have been said better by someone else. Someone like Chuck Wendig. Or Mike Stackpole,  Jordan Kurella, or S.A. Hunt, or anyone else I read writing on the topic with any semblance of frequency.

Their voices are all so much more unique than mine. What could I add?

But I have a perspective. And something to say. And every now and again someone says I might have a glimmer of talent (doubtful, but I'll take it.) So I keep going. And do my best to silence that voice, no matter how much anxiety that might give me.

And that little voice doesn't just short circuit my blog-writing activities, it can sometimes cripple my ability to effectively write prose. Or even non-fiction I have on deadlines.

It can be awful.

But I'm here to say that we all get that voice stuck in our head now and again. We all feel like imposters. We all feel like we're never going to "make it," even if, by all appearances, it seems as though we have made it.

I think it comes with the territory.

Here's today's lesson: don't listen to that voice.

And let me know what you do want to see more of here. Whether that's writing prompts or video Q&As or even just me dissecting a story of your choice on here. Reach out. It's a lot easier for me to shut that voice out when I can add yours to the effort.

As for my writing: I did finish the draft of that survival horror novel. I guessed it would take about 45k words, and it clocked in at 45,600. So, I'm getting better at gauging the length of my stories when I set out to tell them.

Currently, aside from all of my normal freelance, I've been readying two books for submission to publishers, which means I've been working on synopses and query letters and finding that I'm rusty and don't exactly enjoy that work, but I hope the fruits of that labor will indeed be sweet. Preferably a jogan. Or a meiloorun. One or the other.

As a reminder: The Aeronaut and Escape Vector are still out and still need your purchases and reviews. If nothing else, they can use you telling people about them. If you want signed copies, visit the shop here on this page.

Also! here's the full list of "rules and guidelines" I've been collecting over my years of studying writing advice and process

As far as my work outside of all this: There's a lot of great stuff on Big Shiny Robot! and Full of Sith for you. 

And please, please, please don't forget to check out any of my books, drop reviews of them on Amazon or Goodreads, and follow me on twitter and Facebook!
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Anatomy of an Opening: The End of the Affair

Instead of breaking down a scene from a movie, this time we'll break down the opening of a book. (Previously, I've done scenes from City Lights, Citizen Kane, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  I've also broken down the opening to Starship Troopers.

Graham Greene's The End of the Affair is absolutely one of my favorite books. The writing is lyrical and story heart-wrenching and beautiful. Greene's style of writing is such that he always has me gripped, whether it's the beginning of the book or the end. And he shows you so much about the character in his opening lines.

So, here are the first two paragraphs from the book:
A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which, to look ahead. I say 'one chooses' with the inaccurate pride of a professional writer who - when he has been seriously noted at all - has been praised for his technical ability, but d…

50+ Rules and Tips About Writing I've Collected Over the Years

I have twenty or thirty notebooks and journals filled up with snippets about writing, my plans for stories, bits of dialogue, interesting ideas, plotlines, scraps of short stories, and a dozen other things. I carry one with me at all times and it takes me a couple of months to fill one up.

One of the things I've kept in one of my notebooks was a collection of writing tips and rules that I've collected over the years in my travels. From teachers, from books, from wherever. Most of my career has been spent screenwriting, so a lot of these are most applicable to that, but I wanted to present them so they might be of use to you as well.

I've never stopped collecting these over the years and I never will.

To start the list are Kurt Vonnegut's eight rules of writing. They are the first in my notebook and, I think, the most useful. I'll add a star to those I think are applicable most to screenwriting. Some of these aren't applicable to everyone in every situation, but…

World Building Without Bogging Down Your Novel

I was asked to talk today about how you build a world without bogging down your novel. And it's something you see all too much of, not just in the work of those working toward becoming professionals, but in professionally published manuscripts as well.

Part of the problem is that writers become so in love with their world that they hit you with as much of it as they can right from the beginning. There are dumps and dumps of exposition that are supposed to paint a vibrant world, but too many colors of paint hit the canvas and instead of a beautiful sunset and a happy little tree, you're looking at a big smudge of brown where too many colors mixed.

That's not to say you can't get away with some florid description. Sometimes, my favorite passages in books are descriptions of the world that leave my breath taken.

But you don't need all of it in your book.

The question you need to ask yourself is this: does it add to the story?

If you're creating a fantasy or a sci…