Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quiet Your Inner Writing Critic

I'm sitting here, in my office, contemplating the snow falling outside.  Steady and beautiful, but it makes it a real trial to get around anywhere and the forecast is for snow through Friday. 

Oh, boy. 

Don't get me wrong, I love snow, but there can be an overdose and it looks kinda like just that is headed our way.  We could be looking at a couple of feet total.  Sheesh.

Ah, yes, and while I'm contemplating all this snow, and should be working on another writing project of mine, I got to thinking about us writers and how we censor ourselves constantly as we work.  It really can be a killer when it comes to destroying our drive, motivation and self-esteem.  Many of us are our own worst critics.  We attack our own prose even before it has time to hit the computer screen before us.

And that makes writing a much tougher job than it needs to be.  We end up fighting ourselves.  The muse wants to play and be happy, but the critic is on the attack.  How to shut the critic up until we have a chance to get thoughts organized and a new idea down on paper?

Part of the trick is to catch that snotty little voice in your head and wrestle it into silence before it can pounce on every story idea, every turn of the phrase, that you write.  You have to be able to ignore it or, like a meditative state, let it flow past as you write.

If you can't catch it, you might try to out run it.  That's my favorite tactic.  Get an idea and write it fast. Toss it onto the page like mad.  Don't worry about punctuation, proper sentence structure and spelling.  Don't even pay attention to whether your thoughts are totally clear, just get them down and sort them out later.  Hopefully if you let it flow fast you'll get it down before the critic has time to wake up and take notice.

Remember, you're a writer, and unless this is the very first time you've put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard you have no doubt created something by pulling it out of the vapors before and you can do it again.  Just take a deep breath and quiet your inner writing critic.  You'll find you have more control than you think.

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