I say this all the time to my daughter. “You’re so delicious, I just want to bite you!” Sometimes it’s more specific, like “Look at that face! I just need to bite that head!” Or “look at that tushie! I have to bite that tushie!”
I should clarify that my daughter is only six. At six, tushie-biting is highly amusing. At twenty-six it might be a little disturbing.
Point is, at least in my family the so-wonderful-I-have-to-bite-it is an age-old tradition, which is why I posted a picture of me chomping voraciously on Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. (It looks like it’s in a mirror because I took the picture using Photo Booth. I love Photo Booth, but it’s far too convenient for me, since I take waaaaay too many blog pics while I’m in my natural writing state: unrested, uncosmetic’d, and often unwashed… though all that’s for another post.)
This is hands-down the best book on writing ever. The whole thing is gold, but my favorite chapter is “Radio Station KFKD.” We’re a PG-13 site, so I can’t spell it out for you, but sound out the last three letters and you’ll see where she’s going.
Basically, Radio Station KFKD is the voice in your head that says you’re NOT GOOD ENOUGH. It screams in your ear every insecurity, every possible disaster, every reason you’re going to fail. As writers, it’s the voice we hear every time we sit down to write.
I can’t even remember a time when Radio Station KFKD wasn’t blaring in my ears. I didn’t know it by name, of course, but I knew it was there, and frankly it pissed me off. What is said didn’t even piss me off as much as the very fact that I let it exist. I was furious at myself for constantly getting in my own way, and convinced that I couldn’t be successful until I banished that evil little gremlin voice once and for all.
Then I read Bird by Bird, and realized even Anne Lamott, one of my idols, has Radio Station KFKD blaring in her ears “every single morning.”
Cue the skies opening up and the Hallelujah chorus.
If literary genius Anne Lamott, after all her success, still wakes up with horribly negative voices in her head… then I can’t blame myself for still wrestling with them, right?
Then the chapter gets better, as Ms. Lamott gives actual, concrete tips on banishing the self-destructive dialogue from your head. I have yet to master these tips, but as you’ll read in the chapter, neither has she. She struggles, just like we all do. But then she pushes through and achieves those stretches of time we all love, when everything else goes away and the only voices we hear are our characters’.
So long story short, for the best writing advice ever, read Bird by Bird. I’m even going to link to it on Amazon, despite the fact that it makes me feel like the post was one big commercial. I swear, I get no kickbacks, it’s just that good.
Oh hey… anyone out there have some Anbesol? I think I got a paper cut on my gums…