So I was reading this picture book the other day.
It is the story of a child and a terrible stuffed koala that WON’T. GO. AWAY. He tries everything he can to escape Koala. But he can’t.
And as I watched and giggled and turned the pages, it hit me. This may be a book for kids, but there is a lot of writer-brain-psychology in here.
Koala is like our inner monologue. And a lot of the time, this inner monologue is negative. It tells us that we will never make it in the big, bad, publishing world. It is the voice that immediately starts yapping in our ear the moment we address that submission and hit send. It hangs around endlessly, staring at us with its bulgy eyes. For a writer, it can be the most terrible terrible.
We write a new scene. It tells us it’s not good enough.
We finish a revision. It tells us we might as well start over.
We submit to an agent. It tells us not to bother.
We try to put it away, but it just keeps reappearing. We can’t escape.
But then there are rare occasions when this inner monologue is our friend.
It tells us we’re not so bad.
It tells us we might have a chance.
It tells us to work harder, to get better.
And it is in those moments, when we hold Koala close instead of pushing him away, that we guard against the more terrible terrible…
Because even more terrible than battling that negative voice, that ratty old Koala that won’t leave us alone, is the possibility of staying in the same place forever. Never taking action. Never growing. Writing, but never being brave enough to send it out into the world.
So embrace your Koala. Cuddle up, look him dead in those terrible eyes, and tell him you’re not afraid.
And then, one more time, push send.