My consciousness received a letter this weekend. I figured I’d share it.
Hi there. Remember me? You’ve been shutting me out for a while now. And I see you’ve been busy while I’ve been gone. Think you got a lot done, eh? Think you’ve made progress, eh? Well, I just wanted to drop you a line to remind you that you’re not actually getting anywhere. In fact, everything that you’ve been doing is a colossal waste of time. You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You don’t have ‘it’. I’d prove it to you, but you already know it, deep down. You’ll never achieve anything worthwhile in your life. You’re too old. You’re too dumb. That’s just the way it is. So you might as well delete that laughable WIP with all of its shallow characters and glaring plot holes. Because people are going to laugh at it. The same way people laugh at you behind your back when you tell them you’re a writer. Quit trying. You’re no good.
The Imp on your Shoulder
I sat around thinking about the letter for most of the weekend. Finally drafted a response last night:
Dear Imp on my Shoulder,
I could stop there. I could leave this with a simple dismissal and get on with my day, but I feel like I ought to give you a bit more so that you’ll think again before writing me with your ‘advice.’
It’s true that my WIP is ugly and a bit malformed right now. I’m the first to admit it. It’s like a fetus. Kinda creepy looking and not meant to be exposed quite yet. Can’t stand on its own legs legs.
But I am good enough, smart enough, diligent enough to make it walk. No, I can make it fly!
I can prove it, too. I’ve done stuff, you see. I’ve written a book. I’ve travelled the world. I’ve learned another language. I’ve produced children. I’ve spread joy and love. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!
What have you done, oh imp on my shoulder?
You’ve sat there for twenty-nine years bitching and whining. You’ve never helped me achieve any of my goals. You’ve never cheered for any of my successes. You’ve never been a meaningful part of anything good that I’ve ever accomplished. I’m not the waste. You are. And I won’t let you consume me. The very fact that I’m clever enough to push you away makes me clever enough to realize my dreams.
So sod off, imp. Precedent says you’re wrong. And even if it didn’t, I’d rather die with a thousand failed attempts than listen to you and try nothing.