Thursday, July 9, 2009

Inner Critics and Kazoos

Hello all,

Yes, it's true. It's been 2 months since I've blogged. *Gasp* I'd love to say it's because my fingers have been dashing across the keyboard at such a fast pace that even the muse can't keep up, but...well, you get the picture.

Yet it HAS been a productive few months, and something key I wanted to share with my blog readers. Ready?

There is an inner critic inside each of us. Yep, it's true. Writers are especially aware of this sneering little voice, which appears at the worst times to destroy our mojo. We want the critic around when we're editing, polishing, and prepping our manuscripts to go out into the world. But during the creative process, it's best we kick the inner critic's butt to the curb.

So HOW do we do that? I don't have the definitive answer, but I do have several things which have worked for me.

1. Imagine your critic talking through a kazoo. One of my twitter followers mentioned this was horrible, as there was "nothing so frightening" as a kazoo. Well, perhaps. To me, a kazoo is like those fun/silly mirrors at an amusement park. It takes reality and skews it to something silly, overdone, and ridiculous.

So the next time this voice inside your head tells you that your chapter doesn't make sense and it's crap, repeat those words in your head in a kazoo voice. It may make the critic be silent, if only for a spell.

2. Picture yourself out on a ledge, holding that manuscript, painting, whatever creative art you produce in your hands. Imagine yourself ready to fling that thing out into the wind, ready to be destroyed. What would you say to yourself to get yourself back inside? What rational arguments would you use to talk yourself back to a better place, a more realistic one?

Bottom line, our inner critics tell us things that we would never accept from people outside of ourselves, so why should the critic be this big, looming creature? Give it a voice like a kazoo. Or imagine it's a fluffy white rabbit covered in easter egg shells. Anything to shake it up, and make sure that your inner critic isn't welcome until the editing process begins. Then that critic can come in and stay awhile, because it will help you.



Weronika said...

Elaine, welcome back! :) I hope this means you're back for good?

Thanks for the great tips. I'll definitely try 'em the next time I throw my manuscript on the verge of tears. ;)

The Writers Canvas said...

Thanks! Good to be back in the blogging world again :)

Yep, I know and have battled the inner critic many times. Much better if we can keep it mute while creating and then only use its positive characteristics when editing. Good luck!


Kristen howe said...

Elaine, happy two month anniversary. I've been doing mine for almost a month. Thanks for adding mine to favorites. I'll link yours to mine real soon. Good tips.

The Writers Canvas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Writers Canvas said...

Thanks for commenting and visiting, Kristin! I appreciate it!


Willena said...

Well, girl, I'm glad to have you return. I've been worried about the angst that long silence implied.