If you’ve been around for any length of time, you know I have a puppy. I’ve become hooked on The Dog Whisperer television show, where Cesar Milan shows you just have to act like your dog’s pack leader and she’ll pretty much roll over, heel and knead bread for you anytime you want.
I’ve also glommed onto a modernized concept of the Freudian super-ego called the “inner mother.” Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ coined the term to name the inner voice that guides you to do and say the “right” things, to make the choices that are ultimately best for you and yours. This is the little voice that nudges you to apologize because you know it’s the right thing to do, even if you are still mad. It’s also the voice that says, “no more brownies,” even when your hand is halfway to the pan and your mouth is watering. The voice isn’t always welcome, but it serves a vital purpose in keeping us from wandering the world doing as we please with no thought to the consequences.
Hang with me here for a second as I superglue these two seemingly unrelated things together.
Every writer has an inner voice, too, a “writer within” who wants your manuscript not only to be finished but to sparkle. This writerly voice says “sit” when you approach the computer. It says “stay” when your lessor-self wants to scamper off into the Internet weeds. And because the writer within means what she says, you listen…unless she doesn’t, and unless you don’t.
What, then, can you do if you have trouble sitting and staying? [Read more…]