(Language warning. Don’t read if you don’t like the word ‘shit.’)

“I happened to mention this to a hypnotist I saw many years ago, and he looked at me very nicely. At first I thought he was feeling around on the floor for the silent alarm button, but then he gave me the following exercise, which I still use to this day. Close your eyes and get quiet for a minute, until the chatter starts up. Then isolate one of the voices and imagine the person speaking as a mouse. Pick it up by the tail and drop it into a mason jar. Then isolate another voice, pick it up by the tail, drop it in the jar. And so on. Drop in any high-maintenance parental units, drop in any contractors, lawyers, colleagues, children, anyone who is whining in your head. Then put the lid on, and watch all these mouse people clawing at the glass, jabbering away, trying to make you feel like shit because you won’t do what they want—won’t give them more money, won’t be more successful, won’t see them more often. Then imagine that there is a volume-control button on the bottle. Turn it all the way up for a minute, and listen to the stream of angry, neglected, guilt-mongering voices. Then turn it all the way down and watch the frantic mice lunge at the glass, trying to get to you. Leave it down, and get back to your shitty first draft.”

Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

38 thoughts on “

  1. Hobbo December 14, 2020 / 9:13 am

    Lovely image, but I need a bigger jar!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Simon December 14, 2020 / 9:38 am

    Great piece of advice… Liked the way it was conveyed ✨🖋️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. masercot December 14, 2020 / 11:49 am

    Imaginary mice are why I became an engineer…

    Liked by 1 person

      • masercot December 15, 2020 / 2:33 am

        I thought he was cute, at first… then I thought that he was just a small mammalian member of the rodentia family that was commonly used for bio-lab work… and then I thought he was cute, again…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens December 15, 2020 / 7:57 am

          😀 You *do* realize your name makes this all the more amusing, right?

          Liked by 1 person

  4. trentpmcd December 14, 2020 / 12:35 pm

    What do I do if that voice in my head constantly giving me a hard time is mine? I don’t want to be in my own jar… 😉 I love your warning – by the time you read the warning, it is too late lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Doug Jacquier December 14, 2020 / 1:48 pm

      I think the principle of Schrodinger’s cat applies here i.e. you can be in the jar and not in the jar at the same time. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • trentpmcd December 14, 2020 / 5:06 pm

        I’ve always felt that my mental state is indeterminate. Of course, with my luck, the jar will turn out to be a Klein Bottle and everything that is inside is also outside…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Heather Dawn December 14, 2020 / 2:18 pm

    I am going to put your horrible language in that jar!! Goodness me!

    Anyways, I truly hope you get past all those voices and write some really good sh*t!!! I’ll be waiting to read it 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens December 14, 2020 / 2:53 pm

      😀 😀 It could be a swears jar…


  6. gregoryjoel December 14, 2020 / 2:50 pm

    I absolutely love Anne LaMott! No, I don’t find the “s” word offensive! Have a great Christmas! Hope all is well in Utah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens December 14, 2020 / 3:02 pm

      ❤ I need to read more of her. Merry Christmas to you!


  7. petespringerauthor December 14, 2020 / 8:09 pm

    Haha! I love the last line—not what I expected. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Norah December 16, 2020 / 4:15 am

    I love that suggestion and thoroughly enjoyed Anne Lamott’s book.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jules December 18, 2020 / 6:17 am

    There’s only so much ‘bologna’ that any one can take. This advice reminds me about the ability to say “NO” and mean it. No I won’t join this or that committee. No, I don’t like that color and you can’t make me be a fashionista. No I will not take on this additional responsibility because I don’t have too. No I don’t have to give to every charity that asks. ….

    Just keep writing when you can. And remember Sanity is over-rated. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens December 18, 2020 / 8:30 am

      My counselor affirms this; she loves healthy boundaries. 🙂

      I’ll keep that in mind about the sanity. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  10. therealmomblogblog December 21, 2020 / 12:01 pm

    I love the word “shit”. Pretty much a favorite around these parts. I like the sound of that mental exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

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