Going to Battle with the Inner Voices

sometimes it feels like rush hour at Times Square-42nd St. in my head....

I almost laughed when I saw this week's theme on the YA Muses calendar because "Battling the Inner Voices" is not only the story of my life, but this week in particular, and for different but similar reasons....
Here's the deal. I'm working on two creative writing projects right now that are poles apart in craft and content. One is a contemporary YA thriller WIP (which I've mentioned on the blog before) with a feisty, troubled teen protagonist who swears and makes poor choices, etc, and she's got so many facets to her personality to her, that I just love sitting down and having her face obstacles/characters and see what she does and how she grows... The other project is an under-the-wraps, under-contract manuscript for young readers' which couldn't be more different than the aforementioned YA...
My inner voices take over when I think long-term and set goals for my career... When I have big hopes for a project I'm working on and consider acquisition and the editing process to publication and someday, readers – I don't worry so much about the critics hating on me or turd emoji comments on Goodreads (yet, at least... famous last words?) what I do worry about is this: what my family (mostly, my parents and in-laws) will think as they read my books/writings.... I overanalyze this all the time, to the degree that I have to self-check myself while writing/editing to break free of it. The inner voices go something like this.... They're going to think you're talentless. They're going to wonder, how in the world did it take her so long to write this thing??? Oh noes.... So-and-so is going to read this. If my character does this/says this.... Ugh. I'm already dreading that phone call. Is this something [INSERT NAME HERE] is going to be embarrassed to tell his/her friends about?! 
My husband is steadfast, encouraging me to let the voices go (sing that like FROZEN please). He reminds me that allowing these voices affect my choices as a writer will water down the work, or paralyze my creativity, yada yada... And I get it. He's totally right. If I let the inner voices take hold, my craft will suffer, and my skill, and yes my sanity probably too...
Here's what I've had to come to terms with over the course of my writing journey, and what I remind myself of every day.... My inner voices are a manifestation of my fears. Reality doesn't always add up to my fears either. I'm an over thinker. Plus... I'm in the business of writing stories that ring true, dig deep, and explore all aspects of the human condition... I want to write great stories, from various view points, across a spectrum of experiences... I want books to be a safe place for young readers and teens to find themselves on the page. This means that some people are going to like the work, and others just won't. But this simple fact is oftentimes hard to swallow.... So for those times when the inner voices ring too loud in my ears? I look to the wisdom of other artists and creators, to see how they themselves dealt with the paralyzing inner and outer voices... Reading these quotes over and over again helps give me courage against the inner voices that break me down. This is also why I attend so many SCBWI Conferences! Hearing great creators like Laurie Halse Anderson, Ellen Hopkins, Richard Peck, Libba Bray, David Small, Peter Sis, etc (I could go on and on here...) speak about his or her artistic journey always inspires me to push through and be true to my writing instinct, characters, and story....


I love the quotes, Jodi, and your experiences ring so true! It's always a help to know we're not alone with the voices...we all battle them.

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