Beating the Devil

Let’s talk about the devil.

The devil we’re going to talk about today, though, is not a man with a horns and a forked tongue.  We’ll save that for the blog where I talk about Gigolos. This devil, the one we’re going to talk about, is also not the devil associated with religion and mythology.

This blog is about the devil who lives within each of us. I know. It sounds crazy.  He’s there, though. Remember the last time you lived through Hell right here on earth? The devil inside you either helped you make that Hell or he came to you once you were in it to see if he could make things worse.

The devil inside isn’t like a creature on Supernatural.  He’s disguised to look and sound just like us. He knows our hopes, our dreams, and our fears as well as we know them ourselves.  He’s that nagging voice that says, “You can’t. You’re not good enough. There’s no point in trying.”

Dreams are fragile things, whether they’re of being a professional fiction writer or the next Jim Morrison. We coddle our dreams, protect them, nurture them. Everybody has bad days, though.  The devil appears in our tiredest, saddest moment and tries to convince us to quit.

I’ve been ready to scrap my dream of becoming a published writer more times than I can count.  One of those times, I stumbled upon a song Kris Kristofferson wrote called “To Beat the Devil.”

[Note: Johnny Cash recorded this song, too. I prefer Kris’s version, though. In Kris’s version, he talks about Johnny Cash beating the devil.]

If the song’s not your style, that’s all right.  Do me a favor, though.  Hunt down the lyrics online and read them.  A google search with the words “To Beat the Devil + lyrics” will turn up what you want.

“To Beat the Devil” convinced me to dig in my heels and refuse to give up on my writing.   To paraphrase William B. Travis, I will never surrender or retreat.  When I’m haunted by the devil, when he whispers, “Catie, nobody will ever want to read anything you write,” I take action to beat him.

Here’s what I do:

I change Kris’s words a little bit and sing (to myself, because I sound like a cat on a hot tin roof)

 

I was born a lonely writer, and I’m bound to die the same

But I’ve got to feed the story in my soul

And if I never sell a book, I won’t ever die ashamed

‘Cause I don’t believe that no one wants to know.

Singing those words reminds me of who I am and what I’m here to do.  Those words help me beat my inner devil, who is really just my own voice of doubt and fear of failure.