I think I’ve discovered why so many authors are rumored to drink. It’s the only way they can silence their inner critic. What better way to get that little voice to quiet down than soak it in alcohol? Okay, there are definitely better ways, but keeping the constant chatter from distracting you while writing can be a challenge.
For me, the inner critic starts babbling as soon as I come up with an idea for a new book. It (I’m not sure if my critic is a he or a she) questions the plot and which characters the story will focus on and whether or not readers will even care about what happens. Then my critic follows me as I start the first draft and moves with me through the revision stage and keeps going even after the book is published.
Having an inner critic isn’t all bad. In fact, I find it to be a necessity. It keeps me alert to potential problems and stops me from being complacent. Without that critic, I might merrily write paragraph after paragraph each day and think that I’m the world’s greatest scribe, a modern-day Shakespeare. My inner critic keeps me grounded and reminds me of my many writing flaws that I have to watch out for.
And since my critic is a constant companion in my life, I’ve learned to tune it out when I don’t feel like dealing with it. Much like when my kids are running around and playing Star Wars make-believe, the shrieking and whining quickly becomes background noise. When the volume gets too loud and out of hand, then I tune back in and address the issue (that works for both kids and writing!).
I would never muffle my critic completely, because it often provides valuable insight. The trick is to recognize the important criticisms from the unnecessary ones.
And speaking of tricks, I hope everyone manages to avoid all the tricks tonight, and instead, gets lots of treats. Happy Halloween!