I admit it. I have an inner critic who sometimes rears her ugly head. Her name's Edith.
Edith lives in a ratty bathrobe and dingy house slippers that slap-slap-slap across the cracked and peeling-up linoleum floor. Sitting at an old kitchen table, she glares at me over her cat-eye glasses while she chain smokes. Edith's always glad to cut down my writing. So whenever she shuffles in, I have to tell her to "Shut up and get out. Now."
|This is Edith and her grandson. He was never eager|
to visit his grammy. Is it any wonder why?
Most writers deal with an inner critic. How do we get rid of them?
1. One way to vanquish them is what I just did. Give your critic a name. A face. Be specific with the details. That way, you'll realize the voice that says your writing stinks is not coming from inside you... and you can then pull the welcome mat out from under their feet.
2. Realize how unreasonable you are when you expect perfection out of yourself. I read an article by Homaira Kabir and I lovedlovedloved her line, "I am my shadow as well as my light." We're a blend of the good and the bad, the brilliant and the sucky.
If I wasn't writing this for WOW, I might put it in a cruder way. But since I am, I'll word it like this: you must empty your bowels before you have the room to enjoy the next delectable
Give yourself permission to write sub-par stuff, because it will make way for the stuff that sings...
3. Reverse the golden rule. Treat yourself the way you treat others. If a someone told a friend, "Your writing is a steaming pile of poop," what would you say to encourage the colleague and dispel the negativity?
Whatever you would say to them, say to yourself. Aren't you worthy of decent treatment?
4. Imagine the worst-case scenario.
If I submit this story, the editor will definitely send me a rejection letter. In fact, he/she will be
so appalled by my writing, they'll call me on the phone, to ensure I get the message that I should
never, ever send any of my stories to any market on the planet. Just in case I try to slip through the cracks, they'll send my name and picture to every other editor and publisher as a digital
"not wanted" poster.
Then they'll use my story to wipe their rear end after using the toilet...
Most likely this will not happen. But just imagining the wild things that might happen might make you chuckle.
5. Use that negative energy to do something positive. In a New York Times article Carl Richards wrote about an email he got from Chip Scanlan which said, "Whenever I'm blocked... I lower my standards. Correction, I do my best to not have any standards at all. I abandon my standards. I urge myself to write badly, and once I do that my fingers begin to fly, and the inner critic is powerless."
Richards went onto write, "What might happen if you took all the energy that goes in to judging your work and put it right back into the wellspring of creating the work instead?"
If you'd like to read an article about lowering your standards to free your creative flow, read this article.
What clever ways do you have to get rid of your inner critic? Please share--we could all benefit from what works for you.