Friday Feels…Balanced: On Learning to Appreciate Paranoia

Friday feels…balanced.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday didn’t mind you.  There’s a tale to tell there.
Confidence and Paranoia have been fighting like cat and dog this week.  I’m not entirely sure what made them come out with such full force but they did and it’s taken me nearly four days to put them straight (and into strait jackets).  Paranoia has been up to earthworm-151033_640his old tricks, and with renewed vigour too it seems.  “You suck,” he says.  “You’re pathetic and stupid and you should just sit in the corner and rot like a vegetable,” he whines and all the while, Confidence finds new and inventive ways to torture him.  Plucking out his nose hairs and stuffing his ears with wriggly worms – that sort of thing.

He’s has been nibbling my brain, Paranoia.  Gnawing on my synapses and chewing on my limbic system.  He’s made me sad and pulled me down whilst Confidence has dragged me, kicking and screaming (or rather, stumbling and mumbling discontent – all droopy eyed), to my keyboard to work.  Not that I’ve managed to get much done.  Dissatisfaction dawned.  I’ve spent most of the week lamenting over the lack of…well…anything decent in my writing (which now, I realise, is an exaggeration that Paranoia has been fuelling).  Sat in front of the screen, staring like a lost soul, my brain refused to work.  Confidence, of course, tried his best.  He got me here, after all.  He berated poor Paranoia for punching holes in my drive too, slapping him with a wet fish as punishment.

“It’s pants,” Paranoia told me.  “You’re pants.  There’s no point in continuing – you shouldn’t have even started for that matter.”  He’s a sod, that Paranoia.  The things he says are mean, they’re wrong (most of the time) but that got me thinking about Confidence and the things that he says too.

“You’re awesome,” he says.  “You’re the best, most wonderful, intelligent, magnificent person to ever grace this planet!”  Lovely, I think.  That’s nice.  It’s good to hear such positive enthrallment sometimes.  “Your writing is perfect,” he says too.  “You’re the best at what you do.”  That’s nice too but do you know what?  He’s wrong – and actually, that’s okay.  I’m not foolish enough to think that I’m the greatest writer ever (or even the greatest person ever) and to think that I was would mean that I would never look to improve.  For that matter, I don’t even want to think I’m the greatest writer ever (except at 2am when that’s the only thing that’ll get me to sleep, of course) because I want to grow and develop with the process.  And that’s where Paranoia comes in.

He’s not always mean, you see.  Sometimes (just sometimes), he comes up with a valid point.  “The reason you’re struggling with book 2,” he said this week, “is because that character is so woefully under-developed that he might as well be pooped-out sweetcorn.”  Gross.  After sulking for a bit (because, you know, that always helps), I came to the realisation that he’s probably right in this instance.  My character was
under-developed and that set me on a course to correct it (if you’re wondering how, I created a whole lightbulb-31254_640bio-sheet for him, detailing everything from his name to his shoe size – something I intend to do for each and every one of my characters).  That, in turn, lightened my mood and gave me a boost of energy that I’d been lacking all week, despite all of Confidence’s prodding.  So you see, Paranoia’s digging actually helped.  He made my writing better, he made my mood better, and ultimately he made my second book better.  All things that Confidence’s blind acclimation and adoration could never, ever do.

So it’s true – this week has been quite a battle ground for me, I’ve been pulled from side to side by my imaginary friends, but it’s ended with my being ultimately more balanced.  And the best part?  I’ve learned something and that’s that perhaps Paranoia is not quite the utter bastard that I always thought he was.  Here’s to you Paranoia (but only occasionally – don’t go getting ideas).


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