I am re-reading Anne Lamott’s amazing book on writing, Bird By Bird (thanks, @sallylawton). I read it years ago and loved it, but I’m enjoying it even more this time round (at least, I think I am – it’s hard to quantify how much I enjoyed it last time). Either way, it’s wonderful. And this bit really resonated with me:
“Quieting these voices is at least half the battle I fight daily. But this is better than it used to be. It used to be 87 percent. Left to its own devices, my mind spends much of its time having conversations with people who aren’t there. I walk along defending myself to people, or exchanging repartee with them, or rationalizing my behavior, or seducing them with gossip, or pretending I’m on their TV talk show or whatever. I speed or run an aging yellow light or don’t come to a full stop, and one nanosecond later am explaining to imaginary cops exactly why I had to do what I did, or insisting that I did not in fact do it.”
Years ago, I mentioned the constant chatter in my head to David and he said something like, “Voices in your head? Doesn’t that mean you’re insane?” But it’s normal, isn’t it? The reason I’m mentioning it on Writing Wednesday is that I think it’s actually a useful thing for a writer. Occasionally out of all this mental blether, I get an idea for a story. In fact, the idea for the book I may be writing for NaNoWriMo this year (I’m not sure yet – I’m trying to choose between two) came out of exactly this kind of thing.
What about you? Do the voices in your head ever say anything useful?