RyanSimmons asks: I don’t know if you’ve ever been through this, but how do you get rid of the voice in the back of your head that tells you you’re not funny and nothing you ever do will be funny? I’ve got one of those that’s on a wicked streak right now and I can’t seem to shake it.
I still hear that voice all the time. I think the issue isn’t to get rid of that voice in your head but rather to accept that it’s there and choose not to listen to it. I think it’s asking a lot to have that voice be totally eliminated, but it’s not askingas much to say that you should get accustomed to its existence and even more accustomed to not believing it. I might be very, very odd, but I am able to smirk at parts of my own internal monologue and choose not to buy into them. I know they’re lying to me. I ignore them just like I’d ignore any other shitty cynical naysayer in my life.
Remember, and I think it’s fair to say – if you didn’t have that nagging sense of doubt, you wouldn’t be putting any weight on the success or failure of your own creative vision. Your success can’t exist without that fear of failure, by definition. If you didn’t have that voice, you wouldn’t have that drive, and if you didn’t have that drive you’d be completely happy being a retail clerk or something else that’s more grounded and reliable, and living a normal standard life. The negative nagging voice is a piece of why you want to do this. Don’t eliminate it. Embrace it and learn to laugh at it. Let it become part of the radio chatter that also tells you other unrealistic things, such as – getting famous will solve your problems, being more successful than your peers will provide validation, and money equates to happiness. Those all feel “positive” but are just as gilded and false as the asshole voice. All of those things are false and problematic anyway - what’s important is doing the work.
If worse comes to worse, I want to die having made art I believe in completely in secret, that no one ever even saw, like Henry Darger. The things you make, the voice you put out into the world, the actual work, that’s what matters. Everything else is hollow.
Fuck that asshole voice. Tell him he’s an asshole. But don’t tell him to go away. He’s good in the long run. And also the short run.
I hope that helps!
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