Category Archives: inner critic

The voice that will assure you you’re a fraud

By Milli Thornton

I’M RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of an experience of this nature: the voice that will assure you you’re a fraud. I decided to write about it now, while it’s searing through me, as a way to (once again) remind myself what it is next time it’s happening.

About a month ago I started a part-time job as a DJ on a local radio station—after a 33-year hiatus. During my teenage years, up to about age 21, I was a DJ on our high school radio station. A fun experience but that was a long time ago, and technology has changed greatly since then.

After almost a month on-air in my new position, I was finally starting to feel like I was hitting my stride (at least, for a newbie) when a couple of confidence-shattering things happened towards the end of last week. I spent the first part of the weekend trying to deal with my devastated emotions. The second half of the weekend was a lot of fun, I had no time to brood, and I felt somewhat healed. I thought I would be OK once I got back in the studio on Monday morning.

Wrong. I didn’t realize that the voice who will assure you you’re a fraud had taken hold.

As I did my voice breaks, the feeling worsened. I became 100% convinced I was a fraud and as soon as I was discovered, I would be flushed out and eliminated. An extremely uncomfortable and demoralizing feeling that skews things out of perspective.

I had to finish my work so I had no choice but to keep going. I finished my shift and went home to face the music. Every day when I get home from the studio I listen to myself on the radio to see how I can improve. Not an easy thing to do, but you get used to it. Today I could barely stand the thought of hearing myself. I cringed, waiting for my first voice break, right after Sting got finished singing “Wrapped Around Your Finger.”

Then something weird happened. There was no hideous monster doing my voice breaks. I sounded fine. I’m not world-class, maybe not even town-class yet, but I sounded fine. I continued to listen and, as the voice breaks went on, I realized I’d been duped. By that voice.

I’m still feeling a bit shaky and tomorrow might not be much easier than today was. But it sure helps to know it’s not me. It’s a lie. That voice is the only fraudster in this story.

Have you ever had this voice attack you while you were writing?

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Milli Thornton, writing coach and author of Fear of Writing

Milli Thornton

MILLI THORNTON (aka Milliver) is the author of Fear of Writing. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course and Unleash Your Writing!, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Milliver’s Travels and Screenwriting in the Boonies and coaches at Writer’s Muse Coaching Service.

The Ways We Fraud Ourselves (Especially Writers?!)

By guest blogger Sandra Moore Williams

“It’s good to share the shameful secrets of our vast fears of inadequacies. Shared, outed shames aren’t nearly as powerful as secret ones.” — Sandra Moore Williams

I’VE FOUND THAT whatever I designate as my make-a-living occupation automatically becomes my paralysis factor. I procrastinate, worry about it, feel inadequate doing it and in general sabotage myself on it. I lock myself down and freeze up in that area. No wonder my hips and legs locked up so I couldn’t move! The body takes things so literally! I always feel like I’m on probation with my every output scrutinized by a crabby overseer who doesn’t like me.

I can find a million and one ways to distract myself. I enjoy working around the house and in the garden. If I decided landscape designer or home stager or interior design was my designated make-a-living work, I’d stop doing it. Argh!

I’m slowly learning to stop demanding absolute perfection of myself before I can do something. (How can we learn if we don’t make our mistakes and grow into proficiency? Tell my subconscious that. It thinks that wisdom applies to others only.) The myth that writers or artists are born, not educated into the field is one that I bought into long, long ago. I took a correspondence writing course in my early 20s. One of the founders on the board of the school was quoted as saying “Writers are born not made. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. No one can teach it to you.”

I was furious. I felt frauded and wrote a nasty letter to the school about her comment and quit. In truth, I was afraid she was right and I was wasting our money trying to learn something that couldn’t be taught. The school never replied. I ignored my real life, in-front-of-me teachers in high school and college who praised my writing and called me talented. What did they know?

The ways we fraud ourselves!

Sandra Moore Williams, writer, face reader, astrologist

Sandra Moore

Sandra Moore Williams is a popular face reader and author/illustrator of Faces: What You See is What You Get. She’s my friend and my favorite mother-in-law. Sandra is currently writing a novel; she’s also an illustrator, painter, book designer, astrologist and she cranks out a mean cranberry salad. (Whew! Talented lady.) She’s the author of an e-book created at my special request, entitled Face Reading for Writers, which is an enrollment gift for students of the Fear of Writing Online Course.