My inner critic has taken over the past few days. It may be the first time she has managed to make me physically ill. She’s keeping me from doing what I need to do, what I want to do. I need to tell you about my new book (self-published /ebook), yet I feel like vomiting every time I think about it.
Yes, you can surely find someone else to blame if you look hard enough.
“Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.”
I assumed that writing the book would be the biggest challenge. Then I was convinced that the process of publishing the book on multiple platforms (for Kindle, iBooks, Nook etc…) was going to kill me. Then, as I hit the publish button and watched my “baby” go live, I wanted to throw up.
Really. I didn’t celebrate. I wanted to go to a corner and cry. Something wasn’t right. I should work on it more, maybe for the rest of my life. I need to re-write the opening, the first line, the last line.It’s not perfect.
My inner critic had been released. She’s an aging blonde wearing a pink and green golf polo and a white sport skirt. Her husband is a politician. When she’s not bugging me she’s at the country club feeling superior and having lunch with her friends. She’s the kind of woman I am not. And she’s such a b*tch about it.
What’s your inner critic like? Do you know that voice, whispering to you in broad daylight?
“Nothing will ever come of this work.”
“You are not creative.”
“You will never be good enough to be successful.”
“You can’t. You shouldn’t. It’s pointless to keep trying.”
She also tells me that I should cut my hair shorter and find a decent colorist. And I need to stop acting like the world revolves around me because clearly, she is the center of the universe.
Now, at first glance you may say that I am lacking confidence in my writing (or that I need to seek professional help). It’s not really that simple. I’ve been published in magazines, newspapers and online news sites. My first job out of college had me writing for an international trade magazine and writing a company newsletter for incontinence products. Do you know how hard it is to write a quality article around adult diapers? Or write about international copyright laws for the fabrics industry?
It’s not that hard. What I’m trying to convey is that I’m confident in my abilities as a writer. I didn’t have to put any of me into that article about diapers for granny.
I’m going to make a sweeping assumption now. All creative people have an inner critics with full personalities. They attack the artist’s work. They send authors to the ER to have entire manuscripts removed from their stomachs. They can drive us to perfect our work or they can drive us out of our minds.
The questions is, can we get rid of this critic forever? Can it be killed? Imprisoned?
As far as I can tell, we have to fight it, sometimes daily. If you ignore your work and stop creating to get a break, it may follow you around and remind you that your inconsistency will be the death of your dreams.
Remind yourself every day, every hour if needed, that this critic -whoever she is – is simply your own fear. You own her, you can shut her out.
Stop listening. Keep working. The breakthrough may be right past the next paragraph you compose. Maybe “it” isn’t happening as fast as you want it too. Maybe your goals aren’t being reached and you are falling short of your own high expectations (hand raised here).
And regarding my book, I’ve decided to tell myself the following:
It may not be an epic, life changing book (it wasn’t intended to be); it’s not the great American novel (still working on that); it may not be a heart wrenching memoir, but it doesn’t suck!
There you have it. Now you know why I failed as a salesperson.
It doesn’t suck. It’s a collection of posts and columns written over the past five years, about the topic of learning to love your life as a mom. Some of the content is new, some is not. It’s lighthearted, possibly funny. It’s not at all serious and it won’t make you feel like a crappy parent for not doing this (or doing that).
It’s called Love Your Mayhem. You can buy it in any digital format known to geek kind by going to Smashwords.
I’ll do a full out launch for it soon. Right after I wrestle my critic down and lock her up in a spa for a couple of days. She cannot resist being pampered.
Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. -Benjamin Franklin
What would you write, create or do if you weren’t afraid?