Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group - March

It's time once again to gather together to share our woes, our wins, our angst, our joy about writing. Thanks so much to Alex J. Cavanaugh www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com for creating the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

I am enjoying revising my manuscript. I guess I'm been at this writing thing long enough (since 1999) that I've learned to turn away from those negative voices inside my head. Or I talk back to them, whereas before they would simply take me over. I'm sure you know the voices I'm talking about: "Who are you to think you can do this?" Or, "That's just crap." Or, "Oh come on now, really?" Or, "You'll never be good enough so you might as well give up."

Here are some ways I deal with these voices:

  • I imagine them facing away from me so the voice and message is not directed at me
  • I tell them how they feel might have value but I can't listen now
  • I yell at them to shut up and leave me alone
  • I allow the message and the resulting negative feeling to stop me from writing. But this feels terrible when it happens, so I am learning to not give in to the negativity.
  • I tell them what they are saying maybe true but I'm going to keep writing anyway.
  • I politely ask them to leave.
I'm turning 65 in April. I no longer feel I have time to allow my insecurities to keep me from doing the things I am passionate about. And this novel is one of the strongest urges I have ever encountered. The voice of the book came to me in 2009 while I was vacationing in Ireland and Scotland and hasn't left me since. It is the voice that said, "Tell my story." Thank goodness, its voice is louder than these others I am talking about.

How about you? How do you deal with the voices inside your head?


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I like the way you handle the negative voices, Karen! Thanks for the tips.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I really like your approach to dealing with these voices. Sometimes we are our own worst critic aren't we? Oh and by the way, 65 is the new 30, right??

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

I've been dealing with these voices a lot, lately. Like you, I tell them to shut up, or drown them in positive mental reinforcement. They still get to me sometimes, and there are days when I just can't bring myself to work.

I think we should all act like we don't have time to let insecurities get to us. Every second spent worrying is a second we can never get back. Worrying and doubting become self-fulfilling, leaving us with nothing achieved.

mooderino said...

After going through the cycle of doubt and eventual return to enthusiasm, then back to doubt and so on, I treat both as visitors dropping by and leaving soon. No need to pay much attention to either, just focus on getting to the end of the next chapter.

Moody Writing

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Those voices only have power over you if you listen, so don't!

Tracy Jo said...

This is my favorite: I yell at them to shut up and leave me alone! I'm thankful my voice to keep going is louder but these same voices haunt me. Thank you for the tips!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just go all Ninja on them and say you aren't going to listen and if they don't stop, you're kicking some serious butt!

Karen Walker said...

Elizabeth, you are welcome
Optimistic, really, the new 30? I like that!
Paul, I like that - the age doesn't matter. You're right.
Mooderino, that' very zenlike - I like it.
Diane, taking back our power is what it's all about.
Tracy Jo, you are welcome
Alex, I'm now imagining myself Bruce Lee and what he would do.

Julie Flanders said...

Oh, I love the idea of imagining those voices facing away from you. I need to try that. So glad you haven't let those voices prevent you from telling this story.

Hart Johnson said...

I try to remember that sometimes they are good company and ask them to wait until I have a chance to listen with more attention...

MollyMom103 said...

The voices in my head -- what do I do with them. Ignore them. Allow the upbeat hopeful voice some facetime. Believe that kindness is the key to better days and that being kind to myself is of upmost importance.

Robin said...

<<<<<----I tell them what they are saying maybe true but I'm going to keep writing anyway.

I love this one. As I pound away on my rough draft, sometimes a voice will say, "That is just terrible." And I pretty much think that same thing. My response is "I will fix it later. For now, I am just moving forward."

Keep pressing forward.

Bish Denham said...

I give those nags a feather, coat their fingers with honey and sit them in a corner. It shuts them up. While they're busy trying to get the feather off their fingers and/or licking off the honey, I have a few moments peace.

Another trick is to set out 99 grains of rice and tell them to count and gather them all up. They'll spend all their time looking for the 100th grain and leave you alone. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

We so often let our insecurities and fears keep us from following our dreams and passions. Thank you for the reminder that we only have so much time here on earth - let's not waste it! :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Karen, I like the way you handle these negative voices. Warn the voices that you will kick them out of your life if they knock at your door again.

Arlee Bird said...

Yeah, those darn voices. I think they must be an ingrained survival technique from our primitive days when we had to make more life and death decisions. Now the voices don't have that much to do and work more on our intellectual sides like creativity and success.

Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Suzanne Furness said...

Don't listen to them, you know you are good enough and can do it. I particularly like the tip about imagining them facing the other way! I will try that next time the voices visit me.

Juneta Key said...

Hi Karen, I'm new to IWSG, and new to writing to publish. I am working on my first novel. The negative voices in my head have can stop me at times, but they have not knocked me out the game, however they do make me procrastinate a lot.

*I just write anyway
*I talk to friends on writing forums.
*I try to make every day a positive step forward, even if I just brainstorm, or read something about writing.
*I tell them, well at least I tired, and to shut up.

Great post.
Juneta at Writer's Gambit

Julie Musil said...

Karen, I'm so glad you're not allowing those voices to win. The voice that said "Tell my story" is definitely the voice you should listen to. Bravo!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Good for you. Best of luck with your story.

Karen Walker said...

Julie, that technique really works - and thanks - I'm grateful,too
Hart, Hmm, I'd have to think about that
MollyMom, yes, being kind to ourselves is crucial because being a writer is hard, in my opinion
Robin, another thing I forgot to put in the post - Yes, I can do this!
Bish, LOL, those are great!
Madeline, I am super aware of the passage of time at this point.
Rachna, I'm trying to do this gently so they don't freak out and get worse somehow, LOL.
Lee, I like that perspective
Suzanne, it really works for me.
Hi Juneta, welcome to ISWG - it's a great group
Julie, me too
Beverly, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Good for you Karen, it's how young you feel not age that matters.

I am in the process of my third poetry book and am very excited about it though illness have been a factor of late.

Good luck with your manuscript, sure the book when out will be a success.


LD Masterson said...

I call my mom's spirit into the mix. She won't let anyone criticize her little girl. (I'm turning 65 in May.)

jaybird said...

Great tips Karen. You are a wonderful inspiration to me to keep on going in my writing, no matter what those stupid voices say.

Cranking up the volume on my music seems to help drown them out too..LOL

Robin said...

Hey Karen, I just wanted to let you know that I dedicated something to you in the Thursday post. Hope you like it:)

Suze said...

That first way of dealing with the voices is so interesting on so many levels, Karen. Does this dynamic come into play for the characters in your book?

Lisa said...

I try and give myself a limited time to indulge. Then I tell myself to get over myself. It works most of the time. I like your ideas very much! I'll have to remember that kind of self talk and use it studiously! I'm not yet in my sixties, but I too, feel I don't have time to waste anymore. Came over from IWSG.