Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dear Mr. Inner Critic...Bugger Off!

Writing is a funny thing. Not ha-ha funny, but the kind of funny that makes you scratch your head and say huh!

As writers, we tend to spend an awful lot of time in our heads, completely alone. Sure we have our characters to keep us company, but sometimes that's just not enough. I often find myself getting frustrated with my work - I doubt I'm alone on this - and that's when Mr. Inner Critic shows up.

Guild of Ghostwriters
He's a jerk. He's always telling me I suck and that I'm wasting my time. I dislike the man. Yes, my inner critic is a male. He hasn't told me his name yet, but I'll get it outta him sooner or later. *shakes fist*

I'm still working out ways to shut him up. I find writing down his nasty words then combating them with positives helps. It's a full out argument, but at least it's on paper thereby reducing my crazy quotient significantly,  *cough* at least I hope it does.

Another trick I've learned more recently is showing off my stuff. Hmm, I think this requires further explanation. I am NOT an exhibitionist. Promise.

What I mean is stopping the cyclical mind games that Mr. Inner Critic and I play, and going out to get some hardcore proof that I DON'T SUCK.

A few weeks ago I sent out Part Two of my NaNoWriMo novel to a few writer friends. I reminded them it was only a once-edited draft and asked them to read it and provide some very honest feedback on structure and content. Well, the initial response was FABULOUS! In fact it was just the ammo I needed to tell Mr. Inner Critic where he can shove his negative attitude.

Needless to say he ran off, tail between his legs, whimpering like the measly coward that he is. I'm under no delusion that he won't return. I know he will, but this time I'll be quicker to give him a dose of pure, unadulterated optimism. Just the cure for a sourpuss.

How do you combat your nasty inner critic?


Angela Lynn said...

I'm going through the same darn thing! I believe my Inner Critic is a snotty little kid who keeps chanting over and over again "Na-Na-Na-Na-Na! You suck!!" Then she sticks her tongue out at me and spits all over the place. She has pigtails and freckles and is straight out of Anne of Green Gables. Editing Fluff and Nonsense has made her come out even more often. When I'm writing, I can lose myself in the story, it's afterward, when I can take a step back and asses the situation, that my self-deprecation really comes out to play. Anywho! I love this post. It makes me feel like I'm not alone. *hugs*

Angela said...

Boy did I need to be reminded of all this today. Started rewrites on my current WIP last night and managed a whalloping......189 words.


I think your method is my best one, too - to show my writing to other people and get the "hard core non-suckage proof" because golly, that's what you hang on to when things get really tough. I'm pressing on now because I know my draft is better than it was, and there were people out there who liked the original drafts, ugly as it was. Of course, they also gave feedback on how to improve it,so that's an added plus.

Accountability. Accountability is KEY.

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