Whenever I attempt to succeed at something (getting a job, writing a book, publishing . . . anything), I often feel there are a couple different voices doing different things in my brain. One voice is an optimistic, starry-eyed dreamer who sees itself as the hero of an epic story. The other voice is a tad more realistic, and tends to growl about how there’d better be reward money at the end of this escapade.
Now, I value both of these voices. The Dreamer gets things going – “Think of all that could be! Just imagine! We should really, REALLY do this thing!” – while Reality keeps those things from spiraling out of control: “No, that’s a bad idea. Stop, you’re embarrassing yourself. Settle down, kid – you’re nothing special.”
Usually, these two voices manage to work together, mostly, and get things done, but sometimes, the Dreamer gets so puffed up with delusions of grandeur, Reality loses its temper and says a lot of insensitive things (“You’ll NEVER be a Jedi!”), and then everyone’s depressed for a long time.
Currently, the dreaming-voice in my head really wants to publish a book. It believes in the inherent awesomeness of the writing and wants the very very best for it. Some recognition. A pat on the back.
However, reality-dwelling-voice in my head wants dreaming-voice to shut up about the stupid book already. Reality had to do all the work: the first rough drafts of the first failed stories, the reading of book after book on writing-craft, the writing of more failed stories, the first rough draft of the first version of the actual book, which was terrible, rewriting, rewriting, going to college to learn more about writing, realizing that the rewrites weren’t working, rewriting again, writing other stuff, giving up and writing a sequel because even that rewrite wasn’t working, thinking about rewriting, studying more, reading more, finally writing a decent draft, then rewriting that. And rewriting a little more. Reality did all that, hoping this would made the Dreamer happy – hoping the Dreamer would be satisfied that a good story had been told and put into a nice little Word document where interested parties could enjoy it.
But the Dreamer is misty-eyed with joy and reverence at what has been created. It is the greatest thing ever: a work of genius – a bright light in a dark world. “The masses must sing our praises!” the Dreamer shrieks, pounding on the table. “MAKE IT HAPPEN I KNOW YOU CAN!”
Reality looks at the book and rolls its eyes. “You’re kidding, right? It’s only okay.”
“But maybe -”
“No. I’m tired. Go away.”
The Dreamer is good at pestering, though, and often badgers Reality into trying things it doesn’t actually believe will work. Then, if things don’t go as planned, the Dreamer tries to blame Reality for not being upfront: “This isn’t going to work – why didn’t you say so?”
“I did say so.”
This generally leads to a shouting match, and then the two voices retire to their respective parts of the brain, one yelling, “YOU’RE SUCH AN IDIOT LOSER I CAN’T BELIEVE I EVER HUNG OUT WITH YOU!” while the other plugs its ears, yelling back “LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
The point of all this is that things have been a little contentious in the brain of Erika these days, and I’m really hoping they settle their differences soon so we can all get some work done. In the meantime, though, I’ll catch up some reading.