Listening To Your Inner Voice

Listening to your Inner Voice

One of the most amazing things about delving fully into a writing project is the amount of words accumulating as the mind drips into the fingertips and onto the page. Another is how it never fails to open a door to the next writing project.

Just as many authors declare the virtues of taking a long walk or participating in a physical challenge for their ability to clear the cobwebs in the brain, I find sweeping out the words collecting in the corners and crevices of my head clears a space for the next story.

While I was immersed in my Nanowrimo project, I found the knocking of another tale to be a bit annoying. It was akin to being tempted by a desert tray while trying to diet. But now that the clock has stopped on November’s challenge, I am rather intrigued.


“Sporadic thoughts will pop into my head and I’ll have to go write something down, and the next thing you know I’ve written a whole song in an hour.” – Eminem

I don’t know what, if anything, I will ever do with the manuscript I wrote for Nanowrimo.  Most likely, nothing.  However, it was extremely beneficial.

About three days into the project I was researching the correct spelling of a very commonly prescribed pain pill in the sixties and seventies.  My father had taken them for pain associated with  an accident he had.

We thought he took a lot of them because of the pain.  We thought he took too many because he had grown immune to their pain killing effects.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered they were taken off of the market in the United States in 2010 – the same year my impulse to follow my writing passions took off.  They had been taken off of the market in Europe many years before.

The reason?

They didn’t do anything at all for pain.  An opiate, they only affected mood.  Highly addictive and associated with high rates of suicide, especially when mixed with alcohol, which was normal to take the edge off the pain.

I can’t even begin to tell you how cathartic this was.  I’m so glad I listened to my inner voice about writing a memoir for my Nanowrimo project.

You all know how much I dreaded it.

I wrote about wrestling with it.  It just refused to be silenced.  I feel opened up in a new and fabulous way.  Perhaps the cleansing was necessary.

When did you last reap the benefits of listening to your inner voice?

Renee Johnson is the author of Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and one very spoiled German shepherd named Gretel.   

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  1. **I wrote about wrestling with it. It just refused to be silenced. I feel opened up in a new and fabulous way. Perhaps the cleansing was necessary**

    I understand. The cleansing was absolutely vital.

    The cleansing will set you free.

    Great post. xx

  2. It’s amazing the drugs that were easily prescribed in the 60s & 70s and even earlier,that we wouldn’t dream of taking now. So many lives damaged by our ignorance.
    I confess it has been awhile since I listened to anything my inner voice has to say. Perhaps I am over due for a cleansing.

  3. The nanowrimo project sounds much like an intense boot camp workout at the gym. You wonder why the heck you’re doing it, you think you won’t be able to finish it and in the end, it doesn’t really matter if you finished it, because you feel clean and purged and invigorated. I’m due for both…a gym workout and a cleansing inner purge.

    1. Yes, I must revisit the gym too Linda. I suppose I can’t have all of me whole simultaneously, or at least that is how it appears to be shaping up. Thanks for your encouragement.

  4. Renee, I’ve have lived in Australia since May 1959. Next year in September I will be 80! I’ve always tried to avoid prescription drugs as much as possible. My bloopressure tends to go up and down quite a bit. It’s difficult to find a doctor who would try to avoid prescribing blood pressure tablets. They are all rather scared the patient might end up with a stroke!

    1. Wow. You’re doing fantastic! Americans take a lot of drugs. It seems like almost everyone I know is on some kind of medication. And its hard to know which ones are safe today when tomorrow may tell another tale. You just keep listening to your own inner voice. It seems to be serving you well.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Renee. Australians are prescribed an awful lot of drugs too. In my age group it would be difficult to find anyone who doesn’t take several of these prescription drugs. I do not say they are never warranted, however I have the feeling in a lot of cases drugs are somewhat over prescribed. Doctors usually don’t seem to be able to spend enough time with the patient to find out whether some alternative treatment might help. I think often health problems arise because of the stress of modern living.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. Truly an eye opener for us to listen to that inner voice. To follow our instincts and trust our hearts. Inspiring and moving story. Wishing you and your family all the joyful blessings of the holidays.

  6. Hi there, I am nominating you for a “Sisterhood of the World” Bloggers’ Award on WordPress. I want you to know I love all of your posts. My acceptance for the award will post in about an hours time. I’m not worried whether you accept or not I just want you to know I appreciate all your hard work. Cheers,

  7. I’m so happy to hear that you wrote through NaNo! Congratulations! And it sounds like you found the perfect subject. Best wishes for continued inspiration into the New Year!

  8. Listening to my inner voice was the catalyst for my story and writing about it in my memoir, “Solitary Desire-One Woman’s Journey to France.” Living an authentic life is the reward for being true to oneself!

  9. Magnificent, Renee – & just loved you quoting Eminem. Wonderful choice. I can see you’re open minded.

    My inner voice… hmmm… I’ll have to think about when I last properly listened.

  10. I’m glad to know there are others who listen to their inner voice. The instructor I had for a writing class in Ga. told me that you should always listen to your characters. It sounded crazy. It’s my pen, my paper–why aren’t they doing what I want? Let the characters talk and the story is more believable to the reader. I’ve been doing it that way ever since. I find myself often surprised by the turn of events. Yet, I still insist–it’s my pen, my paper. The characters don’t seem to want to listen to me!

    1. I tried to make them behave once and then found I was stuck. They weren’t cooperating; I wasn’t hearing their strong voices. I went back to the place where I ignored my characters and deleted 10,000 words. But that was the best deletion of my life. I had 20,000 in no time and a much better story.

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