Banishing the critic.
Today we’re talking about banishing the critic. I imagine mine in a trench coat with a cigar, dribbling ashes all over my pages. Yours might be even scarier.
But let’s face it: Nobody can beat you up as thoroughly and eloquently as you can yourself.
So what’s a writer to do ?
Let’s start with what not to do.
Don’t medicate yourself…it might take away the edge, but you know what? It will also take away…the edge… that special thing that makes your work sing.
No drugs, no alcohol. I know I sound like somebody’s mother, and oh, yeah, I am! You have to tolerate the anxiety of the blank page.
But how? You’ll come up with your own techniques through time, but here are some that have worked for me:
- Music. Songs. Played low through a set of headphones. Other people’s words seem to divert my critic enough so that I can get my words on the page.
- Give yourself permission to write that truly spectacular bad draft.
- Set a timer for fifteen minutes. And only write for fifteen. And then stop. Mid-sentence, mid-word, even mid-thought.
- Remind yourself of what Samuel Beckett said: Fail. Fail again. Fail better!
- Allow yourself to go down paths. Celebrate the ones that go nowhere, or go places you never intended. Allow yourself to fail, fail again, and fail better.
Here’s to a great week of exploration!