Don’t Listen to “The Voices”

mike is scrumptiousThey’re out there.  They really are.

I can’t think of a better blogging tip than this one.  Because anybody — blogger, journalist, letter writer… anybody — who has faced a blank screen has heard “the voices” of self-doubt.  

Just Don’t Listen 

Because those voices of doubt are lying to you. 

The voices come from within, even when you recognize them as echos of others.  If you don’t hear the voices then maybe you’re faking this writing thing, because self-doubt comes with the territory.  

Don’t worry, the voices will find you.  And you need to be ready when they do.

Self-doubt comes from the reality of what you are trying to achieve — to penetrate the awareness of others.  Which is something over which you have very little control.

People with degrees in this stuff have determined that you can’t please everybody, ever, and the wider your audience the truer this becomes.  You have to continue to play the numbers, and give the upside your best shot every time.

Those you can’t please, the inevitable few, are the source of the voices of doubt.  It’s your job — and your choice — to silence them.

Don’t Listen, Just Write 

It’s the only way to make the voices go away.

I heard the voices just this morning.  It’s why this blog is three hours late getting posted.  Yesterday some guy I’d never heard of prior to my blogging life posted his annual “10 Best Sites for Writers” list, based on nominations from readers.  My little blog garnered dozens of nominations, and I made the semi-finalist list with 26 others.  I really wanted in, if nothing else than to validate what I’ve been doing.

But yesterday, the voices told me that I didn’t make the final cut.  And they were right.

To me it sounded like they were shouting.  But the voices in this case were very soft, more like distant whispering. 

And even so, I’m trying not to listen to them.

I already know that my site content — supposedly the criteria for that particular honor — is as good as, and, with all due respect, in most cases superior to the blogs so deemed.  Especially two of the top three.  But I also know the reason behind the slight.

Think It Through

That’s how you shut out the voices of doubt.  By thinking it through.

My site is very focused on fiction writing.  And, it’s very new, only four months old.  I’m going up against sites that cover the entirety of the freelance writing life, only a slightly whacked-out slice of which gives much weight to fiction.  It’s a game of relationships, of sucking up, and I’ve never been all that good at either.

I rationalize that if someone threw up a list of “10 Ten Fiction Writing Blogs,” I’d be celebrating my #1 position today.  But that’s not the voices I hear this morning.

And so, I must shut out the voices that lure me toward the rocks, and listen to that familiar voice that keeps me on course.  The voice of my readers, the source of the most precious validation of all.

Here in this world, blogging among bloggers, I wouldn’t for a moment consider myself a top-10 anything.  But I do hope you’re listening. 

Because this morning it’s my voice you should hear, and it’s telling you — shouting at you — to be true to yourself, to stick to your gameplan and to cram those other voices, the ones telling you it isn’t working, into a box and boot it as far away from your awareness as you can.

Because they’re wrong.  They’re wrong if you say they are, and that’s a choice to get to make every day you face a blank screen.

Photo credit: mike is scrumptious

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6 Comments

  1. Blaine Bullman September 25, 2009
  2. Stephanie September 25, 2009
  3. Laura September 25, 2009
  4. Larry September 26, 2009
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  6. Sai Ram September 29, 2009