The writer and the critic.

by slowdancejournal


The great and powerful inner critic.
Before your prose is ever judged by an acknowledged critic it will be savaged by the critic within, and that critic will not stop with the observation that you tend to run-on sentences, or wouldn’t know a good metaphor if it bit you.

The inner critic will get personal, demeaning you for entertaining the idea that you–yes, you–could write a book.

For those who are brave enough to start one, it is usually the inner critic who keeps that insecure new writer from finishing, striking when the writer is in the doldrums that lurk in the middle of all novels-in-progress.

“Give up!” says the inner critic, and the writer, like the Cowardly Lion facing the Wizard, turns and runs.

I’d say, shoot the inner critic, but you need the guy–only not when you are in the first-draft stage.

Trust your first draft to the unanalytical dreamer who inhabits the story and believes the characters speak so clearly that sometimes it is as if the writer is taking dictation.

Write a full draft and then invite the critic in. You need the analytical ability of the critic to  point out those run-on sentences, the lack of dramatic tension, your tendency toward overwrought description.

But you will never get to that full draft with the critic on your shoulder, which is where he likes to sit.

How do you elude the critic?

Dorothy, asleep.Like most, I started as an aspiring writer with a day job.

Beginning at 4:30 am, writing before work, I discovered by lucky accident that the critic was a late sleeper, while the creative savant was present from the moment  I opened my eyes–and perhaps before my eyes opened.

The dream state fed seamlessly into the writing state.

I am not being glib. Creative writing requires a willingness to fall into the arms of story, something the critic is far too uptight to do, and fresh from sleep the mind is open, less judgmental, willing to accept what the logical mind would reject.

Am I dooming you to rising in the dark for the rest of your life? No. Make early morning writing your routine and over time the inner critic becomes trained to show up at the appropriate time.

I can now write whenever I want and the inner critic waits until I ask for advice–and then, oh boy, do I get it.

Until you have your critic trained, try writing before the critic,and most sane people, wake up.

It works. Especially if your goal is to get to the words, The End.