The voice you hear

I’ve been thinking about birth lately. There is a point at which a labor outgrows everything you know, everything you read and hear and plan for. It is a frightening space for the woman involved. It is a space of surrender. It is also the place at which everything about you as a person shines through.

It is a place where having someone there who can look you in the eye and say I believe in you and I know you can do this can be the difference between continuing on in fear, or continuing on in faith.

I’ve accepted that support, gratefully, from other people during my own births. I’ve provided that support to other women. It is what we need in birth, and it is what we need in life.

Writers need it too. As I sit here, waiting at the darkest point of the year, when the pines see more of the sun than I do, I’m thinking about what that means, that voice that says I believe in you. I’m thinking about all the times when it feels like the writing is going nowhere, or the story feels too hard to tell, or the novel wants to be written but you know that you may be writing it for yourself alone.

Sometimes it just feels too big to do. Sometimes you want to walk away from it, but everything inside you insists you continue. You skitter around it like a horse crossing water, eyes rolling, convinced it is too deep.

If you’re lucky, there will be a voice coming from across the water. I believe in you, it will say. You can do this.

Listen to it.


  1. I think that I know what you mean. I have developed an urge to write stories. And now, I often feel the weight of cowardice set upon my shoulders.

    A voice in my head says, “Look at the awesome authors being published these days. They are plentiful and have spent a lifetime perfecting their craft. And you, fool,” the voice taunts me, “it took you fifteen years to get comfortable in your profession which requires much less creativity and public scrutiny. You don’t have a lifetime to perfect a new craft. Even if you had any talent, you’re too late! Go watch TV!” Still, I neglect the voice and pull strange tales from my head and pray that there is time enough for me to find and beat the words into a logical arrangement and hope that the labels that will one day be applied to the result are better than “bad”.

    I have read two of your short stories and enjoyed them both so much that I’ve subscribed to your blog. I look forward to reading Wren. I’m a fan! I haven’t much of a voice and my words come from a long, long ways away, but I believe in you. You can do this!

    Happy Solstice! The sun is ready to come North again!

    • The thing about those taunting voices in your head is that they thrive on comparisons. Yes, the world is full of writers, and yes, some of them have spent years perfecting their craft, but absolutely none of them is you. That is the thing that you have–your lifetime, your experiences, your voice, however rusty it may feel. Stephen King’s niche is filled by Stephen King. Ursula Le Guin’s niche is filled by Ursula Le Guin. Yours? It’s waiting for you.

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the stories. Thank you for telling me! I’ve hit a few points this year where I needed some serious bolstering, and I’ve appreciated voices like yours, far off as they may be.

      And Sun–we’re very ready to have you back! 🙂

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