I have lived with a nagging, disgruntled voice in my head for an indeterminate amount of time. Late at night, she sneaks into my room, crawls into my bed, and whispers words like, “more” “different” and “better”. Sometimes I don’t recognize her when she comes calling until I’ve listened too long. She’s a persistent dame. Beautiful, and forever young, she shops at high end stores, and lives in a house I’ll never occupy. I use scripture to silence her and I ask for help when I am overwrought. Oftentimes, my husband will spot her before I do. He’s not fond of her, at all, and does his best to keep her silent.
The battle for significance and the acceptance of one’s self is an age old war. It’s an inner battle, and for many people it takes decades to be able to stop internal lies from paralyzing us from moving forward.
You would think my inner critic would be proud of me today. Why today? Well, today I have been “interviewing” editors to work on my fictional manuscript, Kimly’s Trade. Several years ago, a friend read through Kimly’s Trade and helped me with basic grammar errors, and I was grateful for what she brought to the project. A lot has happened since then, (understatement) and through everything that had happened, my writing improved, and when I returned to the project I knew it could be better.
This month, I am hiring a professional editor who has experience in fiction, specifically one who has worked with characterization, plot, pacing, and voice. I am looking through the resumes I’ve received from my advertisement on Outsource.com and I am struck that I have such an assortment of talented individuals to choose from.
My inner critic could have taken the day off, maybe used the time to go to the gym or get a pedicure. I mean, there’s no room for judgement on a day like today, right?
Of the twenty+ applicants, some have submitted work for me to evaluate. Looking at what they have offered, I have been tempted to devalue my own manuscript. In awe of what I was reading, a paralyzing insecurity began to come over me. I suddenly saw myself differently, suddenly saw myself as being inadequate. I heard the shrill voice I recognize, and it whispered, “Oh Jackie, this world of literary people is a land of incredible talent, and you aren’t a real writer. You are a waitress.”
The liar never leaves. She’s bound to look for me, bound to chase. And, eventually, she’s bound to find me.
As much as I want to, I can’t shut her out completely, because some of her words have an element of truth to them, but she is a distorter of truth: “You haven’t received a contribution to the publishing campaign in over week.”(TRUTH) “You are never going to have enough money to pull this off.”(LIE)
But, shutting her out completely is not the important thing, anyway. It doesn’t matter if her whispers wake me every single morning at 3:22. What matters is what I do after I hear her whisper. What matters is what I do at 3:23. She isn’t the only voice living within, after all. There is another voice, the voice of Truth, and that voice tells me to keep moving forward. If my inner critic doesn’t believe it can happen, then she will be the one who misses the adventure, not me. With or without my inner critic, I will reach my goals. She doesn’t have to believe it, she can sit back in all her disbelief and watch it unfold anyway.
She may have whispers for me, but I’ve got words for her, too. Don’t believe me? Just watch. (Cue, Bruno Mars)
For more information on being a part of Making Kimly’s Trade Happen, visit our Indigogo fundraising page at the following link: Kimly’s Trade, A debut novel by Jackie Sill