Voices From Within

“No, it’s not a very good story—its author was too busy listening to other voices to listen as closely as he should have to the one coming from inside.”—-Stephen King

Love this quote by Stephen King. Whether or not you’re a fan of his work you’ve got to admit the man knows what he’s talking about when it comes to writing.

But it’s not always easy for a writer to listen to the voices coming from inside, is it? Sometimes those voices shock us. Where the heck did that come from? No, I can’t write that! We dig in our heels while dragging our way through the story. Or sometimes we turn and run the other way. Every once in awhile, if we’re lucky, the words even leave us a tiny bit mesmerized, and we find ourselves thinking, that’s kind of good.

Okay, we say kind of because we don’t want to openly admit that maybe it’s a bit more than “kind of good” because maybe it’s actually great! It sounds too much like bragging for us to admit otherwise. Not to mention that we’re a bit shy about the whole thing. Perhaps others might not be as awestruck by our work as we hope for.

Have you ever written a story, set it aside for some time, only to come back to it much later? As you’re reading through that long ago story did a certain line or paragraph jump out at you? Did you find your self thinking—Did I really write that?

I’m willing to bet that those lines, that we can’t imagine writing, are the result of listening to the voices that are coming from inside. I say, go for it. Forget what you’re family and friends might think. Write the story that is begging to be written. Who knows it might be good. It might even be great! Jump in with both feet and give it a try. What’s there to lose?

Are you sometimes surprised by your own writing? Do you agree with Stephen King, that we are too busy listening to other voices to listen as closely as we should to the one coming from inside?

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  1. SandySays1

     /  April 22, 2011

    Amen !!!! A recent experience my human had underlines that. He had an unusual humor concept novel. Let some “pros” read it and got deluged with “its to far out,” “Pubs to conventional for that,” etc. Soooooooo…he did an extensive rewrite. When sent this to a puber that asked to see it, she liked it but…
    Now he’s rewriting the rewrite back to the original. Well, mighty close. Madame pub asked him to do precisely what he started out with.

    • Hi Sandy, welcome to my blog. So glad you decided to drop in. Sounds as though your human had the right idea from the start. Often times our first instinct is the one we should go with.

  2. If that stuff is coming from inside Mr King instead of outside voices, he is just as scary as his stories. Would not want that imagination in my neighborhood one bit. This is not meant to detract from the quality of his stuff.

    • LOL! I haven’t read a lot of King’s work. I enjoyed “The Green Mile,” but I have to say I haven’t read any of his other works. Maybe for that very reason, Carl.

  3. My inside voice had something to say a few days ago that I didn’t want to listen to, because it would change my story drastically, and the outside voices keep saying “don’t change THAT!”

    • So how what did you end up doing? Did you listen to that inner voice? It can sometimes be a struggle. Our inner voice does not always win out. Good luck as you go forward.

  4. I agree. We have to listen to our inner voices. But it is oh so hard at times. That self doubt thing keeps creeping in. Many times I have rewritten a section over and over, only to go back to the original. I just pulled out an old piece of writting and actually said to myself, “Did I really write that?” As for actually being published, I still have to pinch myself to believe it is real!

    • It isn’t always easy to listen to that voice, but to be true to ourselves as writers I think we need to. Too much time can be spent writing the way we think others want us to. I agree Darlene, publication is pretty cool!

  5. And I see dead people …

  6. That’s happened to me! I even double checked because I couldn’t remember writing it. “Did I write that? Really??? Wow. I’m impressed.” LOL. I love those moments. They’re like wood on the fire. Happy Easter, Laura.

  7. I love that Stephen King quote and your wise words to go with it, Laura.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I write and why; this post was very affirming.

    And re: your question, “Have you ever written a story, set it aside for some time, only to come back to it much later? As you’re reading through that long ago story did a certain line or paragraph jump out at you? Did you found your self thinking—Did I really write that?”

    Yes, that happens to me a lot. It’s hard for me to believe some works are mine; they feel that removed by time and change and growth. And yes, happily, there’s often a feeling of surprise. I’ll be reading away, totally engrossed, and later realize, Hey . . .that was my story/column I was so pulled into. It’s good.

    • Stephen King has a lot of great writing quotes. Interesting that I noticed the typo for the first time when you reposted my question, Ev..LOL! Thanks I changed my post..

      It is a totally wonderful to feel that freshness in our writing that others must feel when they read it for the first time.


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