On Embracing My Inner Suck

There’s something nasty living in my head–something besides my brain, I mean. I know it’s there because I hear it almost every time I sit down to write, its raspy little voice telling me how much I suck. I’ve got some theories on what it is–head gremlins is at the top of the list for now–but I’d need a CAT scan to test them, and I don’t know if my health insurance would be cool with that.

I’ve talked to a lot of writers and found out that I’m not the only one with a case of the head gremlins. In fact, some pretty big names in the industry battle with their own. During an interview I heard with Charlaine Harris she talked about how the fear of failure has never gone away even after all her success. Let me tell you, that blew my mind right off the hinges. I mean, come on! This is a lady who has killed it when it comes to best-sellers. And, hello? Ever heard of True Blood? With all she’s done, Bill Gates has probably got a better chance of bouncing a check than she has of failing as a writer.

The fact is that those head gremlins won’t ever close up shop. No, sir. Those little suckers are going to be whispering sweet nasties in my ear even if HBO buys the TV rights to my steamy vampire series. So then what do I do? Quit writing because I’m scared? No way, duder. Not a fricken option.

But alas! I’ve found a simple fix for the problem. See, whenever those voices start squawking I always ask myself which is scarier: trying to write and then falling on my face or lifelong regret because I never tried? When I think about it like that it’s totally easy. The thought of growing old with a brain full of regret is more terrifying than anything those gremlins have to say.


9 thoughts on “On Embracing My Inner Suck

  1. This post came at a perfect time for me. I’ve been struggling with writing doubts (again), about whether or not I should hang it all up for something resembling a normal career. And I just can’t do it because I know I’d regret it more than any other career is worth.

    • I’m glad it helped. I know from experience that abandoning the things I feel passionate about and forcing myself into something I’m lukewarm on never works. I’ve set a goal for myself–kind of a time limit in which I can dedicate everything I have to this writing game. I figure that I haven’t seen any measure of success within that time then maybe I’m just not cut out for the writing game.

      • What’s your time limit? For me, I want to try my hand at self publishing first, because honestly I like the amount of control it gives, and I think I can do decent there whereas my type of stories aren’t exactly in a nice snug genre box for publishers to pick up and throw out there, so I’m not so sure how that’d go. If I can’t get anything up and going by the end of college (a good four years from now at this rate), then I’m going to deeply consider not pursuing writing as a career, first and foremost anyway. I think I’ll always write though.

      • Right now I am aiming to have a real deal polished manuscript to submit to agents by the end of summer. I figure that one of two things will happen: I’ll either get some positive feedback–even a personalized rejection letter would count as positive–or I won’t and I’ll focus more on what I am going to do for a career. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit writing, but the level of energy I’ve been putting into it for the past couple years might need to get throttled back a little.

  2. OMG Dude!! Get out of my head! Seriously, I sooooooo battle with the hed gremlins!! LIke you I have to admit, living with regrets of never trying is more terrifying than the fear of failure. I don’t want to say someday “I coulda been a contenda”. NO, I’m going to give it my best shot now! Thanks for thsi!

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