my well is dried up
boring, useless words fall flat
show up anyway
My inner critic likes to tell me I have nothing to say. She gleefully points out all the flaws in my writing, reminds me of long-languishing drafts that will never come to fruition.
Over the years I’ve learned to get curious and listen for what she’s really trying to say.
Inner critic: See? You’re BORING. You’ve run out of things to write. You never had anything to say in the first place.
IC: Really! Stop writing! I suppose you can keep your technical writing job, but give up your blog and the other ridiculous writing projects. You’re washed up. All done. Give it up.
Me: How would that help?
IC: [caught off guard]: What?
Me: I know you well enough by now to know you’re probably just trying to help me. Thank you for that, by the way.
IC: Yes! It’s not safe! Writing and talking is dangerous! Go back to hiding!
Me: Oh, hello Fear! Thanks for trying to keep me safe. I truly appreciate it.
IC: STOP. NOW.
Me: Oh sweetie. It sounds like you don’t realize we’re all grown up.
Me: You’re right. It wasn’t safe back then to have a voice. You’ve done such a good job of keeping me alive. Thank you!
Me: Things are different now. Will you let me show you?
IC: [nods, buries face in my shoulder]
I take my younger self (for that’s who it is) on a tour of my current life. She likes the dog and my little writing room, and the fact that there’s plenty to eat. She sees that I’ve already shared some writing about scary things, and it’s brought me nothing but support.
After the tour I settle her into a comfy chair with a blanket, a good book, a pb&j, and a glass of milk. She sighs deeply and relaxes into the chair. I settle in next to her. She puts her head on my shoulder. I wrap an arm around her. She’s quiet, comfortable. Safe.
I’m ready to write.