Silence The Voice of Doubt by DOING

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. Vinny vG.

Yep, that “Vinny vG” was a do-er. [That’s Vincent van Gogh to the rest of us, in case you hadn’t met him before.]

I was reading Danny Gregory’s post, Vinnie’s Balls. (No surprise I clicked on that title.) Danny went to a show on Van Gogh’s work in Amsterdam that chronicled the process of Van Gogh’s work.

Not the results. Not the thirty year artist who’s an overnight success. THE PROCESS.

The day in and day out of doing. The thankless, daunting, often-lonely journey of building your talent, canvas by canvas…story by story…goal by goal.

Everyone hates putting in the 10,000 hours it takes to master a skill. (OK, maybe not everyone…maybe that’s just me.) I spend a lot of my author roadtrip hanging my head out the window, my tongue flapping in the breeze, while I ask whoever’s around:

Are we there yet?

The smart ones look at me and say:
We’re NOT freaking there yet. Sit your a$$ down and write. Or teach a class, or read a book, or play with your kid. You’ll be there when you get there. Geesh. Less jabbering, more doing!

My smart pals follow up with me and ask me if I’m writing. They don’t ask what I’m writing. They don’t ask if I’ve finished. They ask if I’ve continued, because the courage to approach the page is what leads you to a story’s end.

Cliches stay in our language because they nearly always hold tons of truth:

If we all DID the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves. (Thomas Edison)

Your dreams ARE very important. (Zig Ziglar)

A journey of a thousand miles DOES begin with a single step. (Chinese philosopher, Laozi)
Very true.

So too does the achievement of your dearest wish take thousands of hours. The tragedy of Van Gogh’s life is that he stopped believing.

My favorite part of Danny Gregory’s post is this:

Great art isn’t scary and imposing and “Important”. It’s personal and full of feeling. At some point, van Gogh gave up making paintings to be sold — that seemed like it would never happen. Instead he made so many paintings because he had to, he wanted to, he had problems to unravel and the world around him was beautiful and cried out to him to be embraced.

Whether it’s a marathon, a competition, a painting or a novel…the next time you get tired of the process, remember it takes time. (Which in my mind translates to ‘WAY TOO LONG.’)

Don’t listen to me…I’m way too impatient. Heed the advise of my wise, hard-working pals: You’ll be there when you get there. Less jabbering, more DOING!

What do the voices in your head say as you chase your passion? Do you listen to it? What keeps you motivated as you pursue your dreams? Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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17 Responses to Silence The Voice of Doubt by DOING

  1. Laura Drake says:

    We walked about this last night on the phone, Jenny – glad to see you shared it with everyone!

    I espoused this lesson this morning. In spite of being terrified of not doing it justice, I sat my way-too-fluffy a$$ down and finished The Book From Hell!!!! And I even like the ending!

    I like the beginning. It’s all the stuff in the middle . . .

    Oh well, my awesome Beta reader (the author of this post) will fix – I have no doubt!

    Now, are YOU writing? O-o


  2. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny, this is oh-so-true! Really glad you have pals asking you about your writing. I need a few of those. Maybe I’d produce more!

    I believe you’ll get there. And I believe I’ll be right behind ya!

    Now…back to work, Jenny-poo! 😉


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      See, we all need to see both the encouragement AND the kick in the behind. Even if it’s 8 months later. I wonder what I was doing on this day that I didn’t answer comments. Hmmmmm.


  3. Catherine Johnson says:

    Agree! This is awesome, Jenny!


  4. Jenny —

    Love your brilliant post. Love your brilliant brain. Love you!
    You’re committed. Not 72-hour-hold committed. 🙂 Goal committed.
    Keep writing, and you’ll drive your a$$ down lots of publication roads.
    I’m cheering for you!


  5. You, my friend, are so on point it’s uncanny. Today there’s been a voice inside my head saying…you don’t feel good. Take a break from your editing. You can always go back to it when you’re in the mood. Time to strap in and just finish. Thanks!


  6. tomwisk says:

    You are so smart.


  7. Amy Shojai says:

    Believe. In. The. Dream. That’s the only way it has a chance in hell of happening…and you gotta dream it first. Then one paw-step at a time. With tears. With laughter. With joy. Believe.


  8. “Are we there yet?” Oh how I relate to this post Jenny. I’ve been discouraged lately. And that’s because of being sick. Which in turn affects my creativity. I look at the computer page and my brain does not function. It’s a black hole of nothingness. It’s frustrating because I’m not a very patient person. But I think life is teaching me to be patient. I need to let all this go and be happy with what I am able to produce. And eventually I will get there. I love Thomas Edison’s quote. Yes, I do think that many of us would astound ourselves to know that we are capable of more than we think. I guess I would like to be astounded sooner, rather than later. You know what I mean? 🙂


  9. The voices in my head always talk to me when I’m writing. They whisper that there are cobwebs in the garage I should sweep down. They they tell me I should have snapped a picture of the guy standing on the corner who was picking his nose – so I could post it on FB. The advise me that now might be a good time to go rid Jack’s bathroom (the yard) of the little presents he left that day. Very chatty, my voices. Usually though, the let me know I might be a little more productive if I have a nap. And if that doesn’t work, I should have another one. 😀

    Very good advice. But, Jenny….ARE WE THERE YET???!!!


  10. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    I’m also a bit impatient but know that I need to put the time and effort into getting ready for the Tough Mudder I am running in April. I keep motivated to keep improving because I hate failure. It’s not an option. Even those days when I don’t want to train I strap in and just do it as Kitt said. Are we there yet for sure.


  11. Love love love love every bit of this post. *hugs*


  12. Only Jenny and More Cowbell could bring me out of isolation to comment.

    WOOT! This post was timely. I’m on the home stretch to finishing my novel for entry into The Golden Heart. There were days I got up about to throw my towel over the precipice — Wile E Coyote’s parachute before ker-plunking on the desert floor.

    But, each day, I talked myself away from that glee-killing leap.

    My support system kept me on track. I could not wake up December 14th without an entry confirmation from RWA. Everyone else believed I could do it. Who am I to make fools of them, right?

    The whack-a-doodle thing about this exercise? I regained my love of writing for writing’s sake. I’ve learned a first draft is not an ACK Attack waiting to happen on rewrite. I’m writing with the same abandon I had back in my unconscious incompetence days.

    Now? I’m at least at the conscious incompetence level. 😉


  13. Julie Glover says:

    “My smart pals follow up with me and ask me if I’m writing. They don’t ask what I’m writing. They don’t ask if I’ve finished. They ask if I’ve continued…”

    Needed to hear that. Thanks!


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