Saturday, April 3, 2010


We need silence as writers.

I’m not talking about the silence of a room to work in or a space to work at though that’s certainly nice. Some people do need that, too. I’m not one of them. I can work anywhere: in an airport or coffee house or restaurant or hotel room –once driving down I-35 –pretty much anywhere. I prefer the relative silence of my house, but I don’t need it.

But I still need silence.

I need to find that place of calm within me. I have to silence all the voices. And there are a lot of them. Sometimes it’s voices telling me that I need to do this or that. I have so much to do and I shouldn’t be trying to squeeze in writing. Sometimes it’s a problem I’m worrying over. It could have to do with work or with a relationship or one of the animals or…you get the idea. A worry. Sometimes it’s critical voices saying I can’t write about this or a voice saying that no one will want to read my manuscript. Someone told me that 85% of what we worry about won’t ever be a problem. My answer to that was, “Yeah, but that other 15% will really mess you up.” I’m a glass half-empty optimist. I can be hopeful but I have to erode a lot of pessimism first.

But back to my point—there are voices that will interfere with your writing. Voices of doubt, voices of criticism, voices of everyday problems. You have to find a way to silence them before you can get to the place you need to go as a writer. It’s a place of silence within you where the voices of your stories can be heard and written.


Jeff Hirsch said...

Yep, as a dyed in the wool worry wort I totally know where you're coming from. I find I have to literally give myself an internal talking to when the voices start popping up. The spiel I give myself is along the lines of "This is your writing time. You have precious little of it. Do you really want to spend this time worrying about X?" That usually pushes it aside for the moment.

Sage Ravenwood said...

Someone once told me, Only when you silence the noise in your head will you truly hear. Alas those sentiments were shared long before I became deaf. Now...the only thing I hear is the voices in my head. Still there is an advantage to using all your other senses to create a visual in words.

I do get what your saying. In this case maybe the advantage is mine. (Hugs)Indigo

Brian Yansky said...

Hi Jeff,
Yeah, I do that, too, sometimes when I try to write before my day job. I wonder if most writers are worriers. We like to mull things over anyway and that can lead to worry.

Interesting, Indigo. Maybe it is.

Unknown said...

I profoundly agree with what you say, Brian. Although some negativity is a perfectly natural part of human experiences, the time-wasting, gratuitous negative self-talk keeps our intellect, creativity and emotions from the quiet place that stories come from. Thanks for this excellent post.

Brian Yansky said...

True--a lot of good things come from struggle. Thanks, Care.

Vonna said...

If only, like Max, we could command, "Be still!" And all would obey.

Brian Yansky said...


Including those little voices.