It’s normal for writers to hear voices. Usually they’re the voices of my characters. And I’ll admit those voices are always there. But I knew I needed to go to the beach when I not only couldn’t hear my characters’ voices, I couldn’t hear my own because the voices I care about were being drowned out by others.
Let’s see, there was Little Miss You Can’t Go Out to Dinner Alone or People Will Talk. Now I can ignore her for some places like Taco Bell and the local diner, but I was having a really hard time ignoring her to go to the Sea Captain’s House Restaurant. Which was really ticking me off because what the chef there can do to a filet is amazing. It took about five hours for me to decide that I really didn’t care what people would think.
I did go early, partly so that I wouldn’t take up a table on date night, but mostly because I skipped lunch and wanted to get back to the hotel and a bottle of wine. The chick who told me to stay and have dessert? She can stay. Dessert Chick force fed the bitchy voice who keeps telling me You’re Not Attractive and You Have Fat Thighs, and she seems a lot happier now. She’s wrong on the first point and right on the second and when she has some good suggestions for working out that my body will tolerate, she can raise her hand and I’m willing to call on her.
You’re a Hack, Go Get a Real Job. When she’s not suggesting I get a real job, she’s suggesting I write real books. Um, I have a day job to take care of my family. It’s not glamorous, so if a million of you want to go out and buy my book for $.99 over the next couple of months, I’ll be happy to quit it and write full time. But until then, the day job stays, thank you. And as for books, mine have words and tell a story. The have a beginning, a middle and an end. There are character arcs, plot points and snappy dialog. I think they are real, thanks. So they stay.
You Can’t/Shouldn’t/Nice Girls Don’t…I could go on, but let’s be real. You know these voices. It took two days, but I kicked each one of them into the ocean. And slowly, as I got rid of each voice, I’d hear a little bit more of my own. You’d think as I got rid of all the opinions of others, that really don’t matter anyway, my voice would have gotten louder, but it hasn’t. She’s not screaming out for attention.
I think maybe she’s enjoying the peace. I was worried for a while I’d kicked her into the ocean too, but she’s made her presence known over the last few days. Oddly enough, she isn’t sharing her thoughts or feelings. Besides writing and spending time with some close friends and family, I can’t tell you what I like to do. That voice and I are going to have to try some new things and figure it out.
And I will. Because since I kicked all the other girls out, I’ve heard Gloria Gaynor singing…
At first I was afraid.
I was petrified.
Kept thinking I could never live without by my side.
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong.
And I grew strong
I learned how to get along…
It’s quiet here now that all those opinionated voices aren’t living with me. Except for the singing. Hopefully the characters will start talking soon. Until then, I suppose there are worse theme songs…