Note from D_Sidd: Excited to bring you a great post today from author Marcus Wearmouth. Marcus, along with his brother Darren, have taken the indie world by storm and have seen huge success. It’s reassuring (and a little daunting) to realize that the battle with your inner voice goes on, no matter what level of acclaim one reaches.
I spend too much time thinking. Staring into space and wondering about the universe or trivial things such as how to make Battenberg cake, or how many plastic coke bottles would it take to float a raft. Someone once called it a ‘busy mind’ after I explained why I was staring at the sky and thinking ‘could the moon actually be a spaceship’.
This internal thought process is shaped by dialogue with my inner voice/self/sub conscious/soul. We’re like Michael Knight and Kitt from Knight Rider, or for those younger than thirty; Lyra and Pantalaimon from His Dark Materials trilogy. The slight difference is that my partner can sometimes be rude, sarcastic and ‘I told you so’. Imagine Michael Knight making a decision that went wrong, then Kitt reminding him of it again and again.
As driver and car, all humans navigate through life with a ubiquitous companion. On the front cover of my new book instead of Marcus Wearmouth, it should read Marcus & Marcus Wearmouth. A novel completed by a complex shifting partnership of mutual admiration and antagonism.
I’ve read pseudo science methods to overcome the voice inside. ‘Ignore it’ or ‘tell the voice you’re not listening anymore.’ Methods that parallel the example King Canute demonstrated when commanding the sea to recede. The only short term disconnection available is through alcohol, though not one I’m advocating on a regular basis. But trying to fight your inner voice is ultimately a pointless exercise. It is your true self, the sum of experiences coalesced into a guiding spirit. Any attempt to change your true self is self defeating.
Therefore coming to terms with an inner voice is the fundamental secret to contented life. The ability to embrace all those thoughts and feelings, accept who I am, what I have achieved and what I have. A conclusion that appears simple enough, but no matter how much I try, doesn’t seem to be possible
With a few relatively popular books published and Eximus in editing, I should be happy. But thanks to internal doubts, I struggle to believe anything I do is of meaning or interest. That’s not to say I’m depressed or anxious, it’s a wonderfully rewarding experience to read your imagination in print or vocalised through an audiobook. I have a lack of self belief. Even when outwardly calm and self-assured there are nerves behind the mask of confidence.
The main problem with my inner voice is its ability to shame and embarrass me with the reaction to a thought. This emotion is heightened when producing creative work. It’s enough to close the laptop lid and think about giving up. Especially when researching new ideas or plots. I feel a crushing realisation of inadequacy as Google lists how many people have already thought and written about them. There’s so much information available to us all now that new ideas seem out of reach. Is it possible for me to be truly original. My inner voice doesn’t think it is, so why put myself out there to be attacked in reviews as hackneyed.
When I read a first content edit of my work, I needed a dictionary to understand the side notes. Pluperfect, non sequitur, deus ex machine, denouement and nomenclature. My inner voice confidently reminded me that as no expert in the English language, I should leave literature to the experts. Perhaps the voice tries to prevent failure based on previous experience. A self preservation mechanism.
Paradoxically though, this inner voice is the reason I write. My stories come from within as allegory through action and apocalypse. Constant musings on humanity, social and philosophical challenges of the present world coalesce into characters, scenes and plots. Assessing, accepting and rejecting elements as they appear in the mind’s eye, walking together through a mental maze.
I continuously change my mind on characters and plot while reviewing and editing. Then when I’ve thought and written myself into a corner, or need to make multiple changes to fit the plot, I’ll want to give up. This is when my inner voice begins to champion me into keeping going or an idea will pop into my head. It changes from critical and challenging to positive and nurturing.
It’s a war of attrition to maintain momentum and the joint control that’s required to type one hundred thousand words. The relationship is never constant, it’s sometimes fleeting or overpowering. It falls silent when I’m waiting for inspiration to plough through a linking chapter. Ideas are formed when I look at things like tree bark or fire, teasing out thoughts. Not sat in front of my laptop and rocking in a chair.
Without the voice I couldn’t write, life would be mechanical and without meaning. With the voice I’m scared and nervous, but also capable and motivated. Its ethereal nature prevents full control but sometimes I feel the meaning of life is tantalisingly within reach. At those moments I’m attuned to another dimension where I can be original and create my own inspirational writing.