A Good Use for a Jar

Since I've been blogging again there's a critical inner voice sounding off in ways I don't like. It says things like,"You do too many posts about _____, nobody's going to think you_____!" It accuses,"You don't write about ______ enough, what are you, ______?"

Anne Lamott's genius book about writing, Bird by Bird has some really good things to say about this very topic.

"What I've learned to do when I sit down to write a shitty first draft....is to quiet the voices in my head............Quieting those voices is at least half the battle I fight daily.............I happened to mention this to a hypnotist I saw......... he gave me the following exercise......Close your eyes and get quiet for a minute, until the chatter starts up. Then isolate one of the voices and imagine the person speaking as a mouse. Pick it up by the tail and drop it into a mason jar. Then isolate another voice, pick it up by the tail, drop it in the jar. And so on...........Then put the lid on, and watch all these mouse people clawing at the glass, jabbering away, trying to make you feel like shit because you won't do what they want. Then imagine that there is a volume-control button on the bottle. Turn it all the way up for a minute and listen to the stream of angry, neglected, guilt-mongering voices. Then turn it all the way down and watch the frantic mice lunge at the glass, trying to get to you.  Leave it down, and get back to your shitty first draft."

I just love this. I need to continue to remember it when negative voices are filling my head and bogging me down, keeping me from confidently doing my thing.

Anne Lamott knows. (I can't talk about her too much without getting sad because she was in Portland this week and I wanted to go listen to her so bad and get her book for my brother and have her sign it, and the weather was crappy and I ended up staying in). 


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