July 1, 2019 Brian Allain

Don’t Worry — You’re Normal (For A Writer, Anyway)

by Kerry Connelly

 

Who’s bright idea was this, anyway?

They should have stopped me. Why didn’t they stop me?

This sucks. Like, it literally sucks any sense of self-esteem I have right out the window, it’s so bad.

Nobody is ever going to want to read this silly drivel.

Who cares about this? I don’t even think I care about this any more. Who’s idea was this, anyway?

Hey, now. That’s not so bad, that part right there…

 

Welcome to my inner dialogue. It happens every single time I write — whether it’s a blog post, a paper for school (I’m pursuing my MDiv) or my book manuscript. It’s almost a given that at any point in time, no matter how excited I am when I start out on a project, about half-way through this nasty little voice of mine will rear its ugly head and start in with its nonsense.

In addition to being a writer, however, I’m also a Certified Life Coach, and so I know a handy little secret: this cycle of mental chatter is totally normal, and knowing that is half the battle. When you understand that this voice has very little to do with your talent and ability and more to do with the way brain chemicals are released and impact your mood and desire to work on a project, you can understand that this is simply a part of the process, and you can lovingly push through the voice and continue to work.

The cycle goes like this:

1) Hey! I’m super excited about this! This is going to be amazing! I can’t wait to get started!

2) Okay, this is moving a little slower than I wanted but that’s ok. I got this.

3) Dear God, what have I done? I’m going to go back to waiting tables. At least I’m good at that.

4) Oh wait. That might be a good sentence, right there. Let’s keep going.

5) Hey! I’m super excited about this! This is going to be amazing! I can’t wait to finish this!

Here’s the breakdown: when we start a project, our brain gets excited and releases feel-good chemicals, but like any high — natural or otherwise — that only lasts for a bit. Once those happy little neuro-transmitters stop surging, so does our confidence. That’s when the voice starts getting chatty. When that happens, it could be a sign that it’s time to take a break, and go find something that will get your brain feeling good again. Then, you can come back and use those happy thoughts to propel your project across the finish line.

And most of all, remember: as much as us writers can be, you’re totally normal.