life, writing

Little Mean Voice


You’re late, said the mean voice in my head. You’re never going to finish on time, as usual.

It was getting way too normal, much like a habit. The voice kept on making snarky remarks on my life and my choices, all the time. I failed to set it aside, it just wouldn’t keep quiet. Do you know what date it is? It kept reminding me. I was straining myself to not bite the bait and begin a conversation. It could keep its monologue for as long as it wanted, I would not respond. Still, the words burnt on my tongue while I gritted my teeth.

You said you would finish your jumper in October… Well, did you? I opened my mouth to reply, but stopped. I. Would. Not. It’s now November, and you haven’t finished it yet. Shall we speak about NaNoWriMo? Ouch. That hurt. The mean voice knew exactly where to hit me. Day 6. That’s almost 10,000 words behind… Does that feel like failure yet? You can’t even say you’ve been busy writing on your blog, can you?

And that was true. I hadn’t written on my blog, on my novel, or even an email in a long time. The jumper lay unfinished in my knitting basket by the armchair, dismembered, all the pieces waiting to be joined together, the urge of the deadline already gone. Come to think of it, I hadn’t even been running for about a week either. I began wondering where my drive had gone. Was that it then? Was I done?

You’re never going to finish anything worthy in your life.

I should get myself some duct tape and gag that mean voice. I had finished things before… Worthy things… right? Maybe they weren’t worthy-worthy, but they were ok, and I had finish them… I just couldn’t think of any then. I could see myself falling for the trap. Clever, little, mean, mean voice. I bit my tongue instead. I. Would. Not.

You’ve had that calendar on your to-do list for months. You were planning on making a bag for your knitting needles. You had a Twitter project. You wanted to make a tote bag… You keep having all these ideas for projects and then, what do you do? Gorge on comfort food in front of the TV. Always finding an excuse. You’re pathetic.

Whoa. That had gone a bit too far. The mean voice knew it had crossed a line so it kept quiet for a moment, hoping I hadn’t noticed. It could always call on my faults and on my procrastination, but a full-on frontal attack would certainly set me on a defensive mode. I wasn’t pathetic. So what? I had been delayed but then again, I wasn’t really working towards any life or death deadlines.

Yes, I hadn’t finished the jumper, mainly because of a massive amount of procrastination from my side, but that didn’t mean I had failed. The way I saw it, I had almost made a whole jumper in a month. The first jumper I had ever made, actually. It also had some stitches I had never seen before, so hey, I had learnt new things. I decided to finish it as soon as possible, that would teach the mean voice a lesson. I just hoped it was worthy… was it?

I was late writing on my novel. So what? 10,000 words is nothing, I knew I could write them in a few days… It just meant I needed to write more words each day. Here, however, I knew what the procrastination meant… It had insecurity scribbled all over it. As long as the novel remained unfinished, it would still have a chance in my mind. I wouldn’t have to deal with it and face the possibility that it might not be a good piece of work. Let’s be honest, it could happen. The times I had re-read it, I had been left with a feeling of disappointment. Of course, I would always compare my novel to the ones I enjoyed reading the most, and I was aware it wasn’t the fairest of all comparisons. After all, mine was still a rough draft, whilst the others were written by experienced authors, revised countless times, and published. So what if it wasn’t as good as I would like it to be? Yeah, so what?, the mean voice asked with a smirk. Right, yeah, it was better not to go down that path. Chances were I would become so disenchanted with the novel that I’d quit writing altogether and that would not be the best mind-set to have when a full month of creative writing awaits you. However, that didn’t change the fact that it was already day 6 on the writing challenge and I hadn’t written a single word this year. I had set myself the goal of finishing the novel, one way or another, and I still didn’t know how that was going to work out.

The feeling paralysing my fingers was no other than the well-known fear of failure. I kept repeating to myself that the only failure was to never try. I almost half believed it.

It was always the same. I would get over excited about a project and at some point during its execution; it would suddenly hit me, what if I wasn’t good enough? The mean voice was always there to remind me that people better than me tried and failed every day. For some reason, it never mentioned those who succeeded. The mean voice knew where the weaknesses lay on my armour and it didn’t aim to maim but to kill.

It only takes one word to kill a dream, they say. Did I believe that? Of course I did. I had murdered countless of dreams in my life. I didn’t know if there was still any saving me, but I however had to try… I needed to try… didn’t I?

You can keep trying, but it won’t change the fact that you can’t do it.

“Like hell I can’t,” I finally replied, annoyed at the plain belittlement. “Watch me.”

And with that, I shut the mean voice up, and started writing.

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4 Comments

    • Ah, I would love to… But I’m supposed to go to a birthday on Saturday and meeting a friend on Sunday… when?!?!?

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