In the sixth grade I was the new kid and unknowingly befriended the school bully. She was a cruel and unfortunately toxic eleven year old who would mock me for being a “nerd” put me down for still playing childish games and chewing bubble jug gum instead of the more grown-up Juicy Fruit.
I was a small, nerdy kid but I was certainly not a pushover and it didn’t take long for me to send this girl on her merry way and go back to my real friends, THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB.
Now, fast-forward to my adult life where I am more intelligent, in a loving marriage, a homeschooling mom of two amazing boys and fairly well-adjusted. I live with a bully 24/7. She puts me down, she mocks me, she tells me I’m worthless and lacking talent, skill and anything that could ever matter to anyone, ever. She lives inside my head.
As writers we are all pretty familiar with the internal editor. BUT WHY?
This is a question I have been asking myself for about a month now, and I’ve known the answer all along I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. I am comfortable with my internal critic. I have cozied up to the internal editor and her nasty words. Why? Because she is familiar. She will remain constant. GOD FORBID I compliment myself on my writing, or worse *gasp* someone else compliment me. Or HOLY CRAYOLA! someone of any importance think I’ve got a shot at publishing MY work. That would throw a curve ball at my life and THAT SHIT TAKES GUTS.
But my dream to finish a book and breathe life into the characters that I have carried in my soul for so long, weighs more than comfort. It’s heavy, but ask anyone if they would prefer to drag a sack of gold uphill, sweating and grunting, that they can keep when they reach the top or frolic lightly up the hill with a sack of feathers and they would sweat and grunt all the way. (If not they be crazy)
Writing books takes WORK. Hard work, sweat, tears, laughter, sleepless nights and tremendous joy. Because you’re giving birth to something that should mean the world to you.
When I first got involved in the amazing writing community on Twitter, I said to myself if were we a group of people talking about ANY OTHER job that made us cry and worry, feel sick and anxious, and have extreme highs and lows ALL the time, we would be encouraging each other to quit and get the eff outta there. But writing is one of the only jobs where the pain is part of the reward. Just like giving birth.
So I have a reached a point in my writing where I have to either accept the fact that I will remain in a cozy yet abusive marriage with the internal editor for the rest of my life OR I can let her go, and set myself free.
I don’t expect her to stay gone forever but I can at least enjoy my bubble jug in peace for now.
If you are going through the same thing right now I leave you with this quote:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson