The Inner Critic

by RS on March 21, 2011

Once again on the Writing List at the Internet Writing Workshop there’s been an exchange of what makes an author. A few writers that have or will be published by major publishing houses have boiled it down to this: write, and write everyday.

It’s solid advice I couldn’t agree with more, but what happens when the little voice (or not so little) in your head keeps whispering, “You suck.”  My inner critic sounds a lot like a former partner who was very critical of just about everything anyone did, including me. The voice  ridicules everything about my story from character development to story arc to commercial value. He points out every flaw, never praises, and always, always urges me to give up because I have no vision, talent, or even the vaguest idea of what comprises good writing. In essence, my inner critic is a bona-fide asshole.

I know I need to slay that voice. Not tell it to shut up and please go away, but to kill it in the most heinous and blood-thirsty way that serves as a form of catharsis to rid yourself of what has become a demon. What method of murder have I chosen? It’s simple: I visualize success. Not over the top accolades and awards, but good reviews, book signings, and decent sales that will allow me to finance the research on the next book (it includes travel).

Every time, I open that Scrivener project, and write a new line for Julius, I know the voice gets weaker.  For every word, sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter I write, I’m slowly (and, I hope, painfully) killing that asshole.  And that alone makes me a success.

 

3 comments
Myra
Myra

I know what you mean, Rebeca.

Robert
Robert

Rebeca,

I believe all writers have the demon critic in their heads. Published authors are the ones that ignore it or learn how to control the fear it rises in us.

I believe writers are sensitive people at heart and tend to listen too much to the naysayer critic we create for ourselves.

It is true that writers must write something everyday if they wish to hone their craft. They should also compete with themselves to improve every time they write.

The real question is what type of writer you are, is writing a calling or a hobby? I wrote a post about this subject on my blog about writing.

Previous post:

Next post: