Voices In My Head

inside-out-movieYou might have noticed that I’ve been quite belated in writing blog posts lately. It’s primarily because I’ve been spending all my extra time and creative energies writing a new book manuscript. If you’ve ever written a book, you can understand that it can become fairly intense (especially if you’re under contract!), and it involves a lot of research, reading, and just plain sitting and pondering deep thoughts (at least I think they are deep thoughts). My current practice includes reading and taking notes throughout the week, and reserving most of my composition to Mondays (my Sabbath day). I’ve found that it keeps me motivated, as I look forward to my writing day. 

Writing—and the creative process in general—is always fun for me. I love forming words, phrases, concepts, ideas. I love how words make us think and feel, and I love the challenge of making us think and feel deeply, differently, daringly. Honestly, I think I enjoy the process of writing more than I do songwriting these days.

Funny thing though. In the process, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of internal conversations going on in my head, the inner chatter of different viewpoints simultaneously commenting and critiquing in my cerebral cortex. 

There’s this Engineer in my head who constantly insists that everything I write be organized and logical. He’s the guy with the pocket protector who keeps saying, “You already said that in chapter three. You should define that concept more thoroughly. Do you have to be so metaphorical?” The Engineer keeps drawing diagrams, and insists that the book be written in MLA format, but then he writes in all caps.

There’s also this Artiste person in my head, wearing a poofy shirt and a beret, who wants to write every chapter in either iambic pentameter or beat poetry, and he keeps interrupting the process with different book cover designs. Writing takes a long time for the Artiste, and every sentence he finishes sounds like he’s describing a fine wine—especially the ones that have hints of currants and pears with a buttery oak finish.

The Engineer and the Artiste can often be found in the back corners of my mind, arguing.

Then there’s the Preacher, the one who wants to write each chapter with three major points that all start with the letter P, and finish each chapter with a sappy poem. He’s the one who is always checking the concordances to see what everyone else says, but then ends up quoting C.S. Lewis. He fancies himself an amateur theologian, which of course is the most dangerous kind.

Interestingly, there’s a Psychologist in my head too. He sits by the couch, mostly taking notes, but occasionally asks deep, derailing questions like, “What if your target audience is really the inner child of the false self of your target audience?” I hate to admit it, but the Psychologist in my head has gotten in my head.

In the midst of all this chatter, there’s a Teenager who sits quietly at the table, watching everyone else. Occasionally, he’ll mutter, “whatever” and check his iPhone. But he’s quite insecure about where this is all going. He’s worried about what all the cool kids will say about the book.

Yeah, though I am thoroughly enjoying the process of book writing, it does have a tendency to bring out the demons—insecurities over my own abilities and knowledge, the need for acceptance and approval, and just the terror of having to deliver 60,000 words.

I know that many of my readers are writers as well—both professional and aspiring. For all of you, and for myself, I count us among the fortunate ones. So, can you, or any other of my artist friends, relate to my inner dialogue? What goes on in your head?

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3 thoughts on “Voices In My Head

  1. I am also in a major project and I can relate to all the voices, but too often it is the “fearful child” that I must silence. Insecurities and the fear of failure haunt me. Thank you for the reminder of Whose voice really matters.

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