Posted by: jeannineatkins | January 10, 2013

You Mean to Intrude? Be my Guest.


When I sit to write, I’m hardly ever welcomed by a voice rising from the page. My characters haven’t been waiting patiently as dolls shoved in a closet, ready for a girl to come back and make them chat. Instead I’m greeted at my computer with the voices that have been in my head all along. There’s that list of chores, the emails owed, fragments of thoughts from the book I want to write someday but not now. I hear calls about all the other things I should be doing instead of what I planned.

I let these voices in, but not too far. Slamming the door shuts out everyone. The smack of the door is that unpleasant. Chores can be simple: there’s a notepad beside me where I can add to the list of things to get done. Some of those emails do get written. And those voices that tell me I’m off topic, that this scene doesn’t belong? I often put them right on the page. Who do you think you are to write this? You’re going to have to throw out the entire morning’s work. This isn’t pleasant to see, but it’s better than having such thoughts drift between my ears. Giving them their due seems to dim their power. And when the spoil-sporty words come back, sometimes they echo the old ding of a typewriter hitting the end of a line. A simple chime, to which I can say: You’re wrong. And move along.



  1. Hi Jeannine, I really enjoy reading your blogs.

  2. Oh, those harsh voices! And the distracting ones can be almost as bad. I think you’re right, and giving them a place to speak can actually take away their power. I let mine have their own pages, and most of the time it’s amazing how quickly they start to run out of steam and repeat themselves.

    • Let those voices with their eyebrow-raising ways have their own club. With a shut door. It’s reassuring to know you agree, Amy!

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