Wednesday, March 6, 2013


post by Lynn

As a writer, I have decisions to make every day. I’m sure you do too. Here’s just a few of mine:

I decide not to sacrifice my relationships for my “art.” For one thing, I’m just not that dramatic. For another thing, I really like my husband, family and friends, and besides – relationships make for great material.

I decide to act as if I will meet and come to know every person who reads my writing. This keeps me honest. It keeps me from saying, “Ah, what the hell, I’ll just say this thing even if I don’t believe it.”

I decide to pretend that what I have to say is very important and must be said – by me and no one else. It’s a game I play and in the playing of it, I give the critical voices in my head nothing to work with. The conversation goes something like this…

Critic in my head: “Oh, that’s crap. There’s no market for that. It’s not fresh – been said a million times by more talented writers than you.”
Me: “Oh, no, sorry. I have it on divine revelation that it is absolutely imperative that I write these words or the world will go ‘poof.’ I simply can’t take that chance.”
Critic in my head to his friends: “She’s completely delusional. What the hell do I do with that?”
Weird, I know, but it shuts the critic up and lets me write.

I decide to be earnest, to forgo sophistication and coolness and be okay with being a beginner. Easier said than done when you’re at a writing conference and the people at your table are fashionably dressed and speak of writing awards and toss literary terms around like so much confetti. I abandon all effort not to look stupid and ask, “What’s the Pushcart Prize?” and “What does ‘adumbration’ mean?”

I’m actually doing these literary sophisticates a favor. When I play the dumb country cousin I make them feel superior and hey – I’m all about helping people. Most importantly though, I learn something I didn’t know and acknowledge my ignorance as a temporary state instead of a character flaw.

My question to you, then, is: What decisions are you making today? I hope they are ones that keep you writing.


Luana Krause said...

Great post, Lynn. The inner critic can be BRUTAL! I'm realizing that when I write, my inner editor starts driving the car and I can't even get out of the drive way! My editor needs to ride shot gun and let the Muse take the driver's seat.

June said...

Great principles to work with. I particularly like the last part, where you can please others by allowing them to feel superior while learning things that you might be able to use later. Wisdom!

And the inner critic just stands around thinking of lazy things to say. Her, you can ignore. She won't say anything new:-)

Deborah Nielsen said...

My editor sits on my writer's shoulder looking down at everything on the page. She makes it extremely difficult to just write whatever comes to mind. So I write a paragraph or a few lines and then re-read them and edit. Write a few more lines, re-read everything written so far and do more editing. If I could just get her off my shoulder I think I could focus on the story instead of on perfection first time around. It's funny, though, when I spend time with photography the editor is nowhere around and I can shoot without a critic. Now if I could only do the same when I sit down to write.

Lynn said...

I've found that participating in this blog was one decision that really pays off in an unexpected way -- now I "hear" your voices and they are coming in stronger than the critic's voice today. Thanks!

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