Sunday, August 26, 2007

Arguing With the Inner Weasel

It must be close to a decade now since I first encountered the term Inner Weasel. This was on the old AOL Science Fiction and Fantasy writers' message boards. Established writers (primarily Patricia C. Wrede), an ex-literary agent, a somewhat insane literary scammer, and a bunch of aspiring writers used to hang out there, sharing stories of our triumphs and challenges, comparing notes about which techniques "worked" for each of us and which didn't, and arguing over whether there are any "rules" to writing at all. One concept that we discussed repeatedly was that of an Inner Critic, sort of a baleful extension of Freud's superego concept. It's the little voice inside that tells you you're a failure and a fraud, your writing is crap, and you may as well give up now. Someone called that nasty inner voice a weasel, and from then on it had a new name: the Inner Weasel.

The Inner Weasel is something that a writer much keep on a tight leash in order to keep writing. If we don't, it plays on all our insecurities, magnifying every fault and doing its best to convince us that the writing is much worse than it is, and that we can't possibly fix it. The story is lame and badly written, it tells us. What makes you think you can write? Give up now....

And, as I believe I've mentioned here before, the Inner Weasel doesn't confine its bad advice to hypercritical analysis of our writing efforts. Mine has been plaguing me since Friday, trying to frighten me about my new job. What if none of your new co-workers like you, and you fail to establish yourself as their supervisor? What if you can't learn the software and the procedures? What if you can't figure out how to do a pivot table or a vlookup, or link files? What if you can't keep up with the workload? What if they find out you're a fraud and a failure, and you're out on your ear when the temp job runs out?

Yeah, well. I got along with almost everyone in my last job, and with everyone in my interviews; there's no reason to think I can't do as well at ARR! I've supervised people before; I can do it again, and grow into the role. I've learned software everywhere I've gone and in every situation that called for it, for over 20 years now. And I've learned each job's procedures, and then tweaked or redesigned them as needed. I got a 97% score on an Excel test; surely I can conquer that last 3%. And I'm not a fraud or a failure (all those things in my resume, I've actually accomplished), and I'm not going to be out on my ear!

I hope.

Next on my reading list, once I'm done with Harry Potter.

Aside from this low-level but ongoing attack of nerves, which will probably end once I've gotten through my first few days at ARR!, I've little to report. Pretty much all I've done today is read Harry Potter, finishing Goblet of Fire and starting on Order of the Phoenix. The Weasel's been nagging me about getting back to my Mages edit, so I'll probably put in a few pages' worth of work on that before I go to bed. And John dug out a Neil Gaiman short story collection for me, which I'll get to when I finish rereading the Harry Potter saga. American Gods will probably be next after that, Paul.

Is this blouse too risque for the office? The IW says yes.

I did get out of the house today, though, eventually. John and I went to Wal-Mart, John's unfavorite place, and to Target. I picked up some decent gray slacks and this red blouse, the latter of which I may or may not wear to work. In the photo above, it's buttoned as far up as it will go, leaving a rather deep opening at the top. Does this constitute a plunging neckline? The clerk at Wal-Mart agreed with me that it seemed a bit problematic, and yet the blouse looked too good on me to pass up. I can either wear it on weekends, or take it to Mendel's Wife the Tailor and have them add another button nearer the top of the collar. Fortunately, an extra button is provided.

Other than that, now that most of the $2K cashier's "gift" check from First Magnus execs is in the bank, I've paid some bills and made a few minor, self-indulgent purchases. I've replaced the Doctor Who CD that I left in the computer at First Magnus on Black Thursday, and bought the DVD of the last Seventh Doctor story, Survival, which ended the show's original 1963-1989 run on the BBC. And after at least a year of admiring the Choxie displays of innovative varieties of chocolates in wonderfully modern packaging, I bought a dark chocolate key lime truffle bar and enjoyed it over a period of a few hours. The Inner Weasel didn't like that. Not at all.




Paul said...

Or, you could wear a camisole under it...

I love the way the exclamation point has become a part of the pseudonymous proper name of your new employer.

Shelly said...

Geez, Karen, what the heck are you feeding your inner weasel? It sounds way too big for its britches. Stop it right now!

My inner weasel, now that I've decided that I actually like the story I've told in my novel now that I've sent it to uh, gamma readers, I guess, since betas were last draft, has been reduced to telling me I didn't do a good job telling this great story. heh

Slay that inner weasel or at least tell it in no uncertain terms that it must stick to writing/editing tirades only.

julie said...

You know all about the issues with my Weasel this week! I'm with Paul. A camisole or tank top would probably be fine. I ended up doing that after I bought a really nice top that had the same problem. Worked great because the event I wore it to turned out to be hot, muggy, and packed with people. I wasn't the only woman to unbutton a shirt to reveal a camisole or tank top underneath! (And at my age, dressing in layers is important!)

Anonymous said...

Congradulations on the new job.
Best wishes.