Posts Tagged ‘Critic’

That Evil Inner Critic

It appears I did it again…..

I neglected this blog yet again. I think this was like the third time now.  Again, I’m really sorry. My internet connection sucked. Okay, I’ll admit that I lived in the land of Dial-Up. Yes, that does actually still exist.  It was unreliable and super slow, so blogging took awhile. I got busy with other things included trying to get my book to the end (we’ll talk about that in a moment) and working on my jewelry and hair accessories that I sell (It would make me the happiest girl in the world if you checked out my etsy store…. just saying..)

So here I am, back at my blog now with high speed internet. Yes, I have finally made it out of dial up. Thank goodness. So hopefully I’ll be able to blog more now that it won’t take me hours to post.  Of course, it can make writing a little more difficult considering the distraction it can be. But, good news is that I’m about three or four chapters away from finishing my book.  That’s always a good thing, right?

My problem always has been finishing though. I sort of freeze up and really start to feel the pressure. Everyone starts asking if I have finished yet, what am I going to do with afterwards, how I’m going to get it published. Blah, blah, blah. All of this pressure starts to build up and I freeze. I start getting really critical about the words I type and whether it’s good enough to actually publish.  Yes, my book is about the start of a zombie apocalypse, but it’s not completely full of zombies either. It’s really character driven and sometimes I’m not sure if that’s what people want. I know you can’t please everyone and we all have bad critics who want to bash everything we do but……. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to get past the inner critic in my own head to get to those outside critics.

That’s my biggest problem. The inner critic always wants to bring me down. Will I let it? Of course not. But, it’s always a bitch to get over.  How do you turn off the inner critic in your head to get the work completed? Let me know in the comments section below!

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We’ve all been there.  We work really hard on our writing projects and send it out to someone we trust, someone we feel will give us the best advice on where we should go from there.  Maybe we need a different pair of eyes looking for certain issues like grammar, punctuation, spelling errors, or those dreaded plot holes. Of course, we know that our projects aren’t perfect, so we expect some comments.

We wait anxiously for our projects to return. Paranoia sets in if you don’t get it within a reasonable amount of time. We begin to think: was it really that bad? Why is it taking that long? Are there that many errors?  We don’t take into consideration that people do have other things to do. That will never cross into our minds at that time.

Then that long awaited day arrives when you open up your e-mail and find your project back. The anxiety hits again and your mind races as you scan the document.  Then you get that awful knot in your stomach when you finish and you think:

Ouch, that hurt.  I didn’t think it was that bad..

Every little thing was pulled apart. Every sentence was wrong…all of the characters weren’t up to par and your whole plot needed to be reworked. Basically, that critic says: “You should just start over.” It kind of reminds you back when you were in school and just turned in a paper. You hand it in thinking you did your best and surely you’ll get a nice passing grade. Then, you get it back and it’s almost smeared in red ink. That dreaded red ink.

Chances are, you’ve encountered a bad critic; one who doesn’t understand that this is just a first draft and of course there needs to be some work done to it.  But, they only zero in on the bad. No good comments will be heard from them. They’re what people call “Negative Nancy’s”. Everything is wrong and nothing is right.  Instead of encouraging you with some good comments of what they liked, they’ll knock you down with their harsh critiques and negative views. It’s a tough thing to swallow because you begin to doubt your own writing.

The thing is, we can’t hide from those critics. We can’t run away from receiving criticism because it really can help our writing…. as long as it’s done constructively. Constructive criticism is the best kind to get. It’s helpful because it’s not knocking down everything you wrote and it’s also not telling you everything is perfect either.  Constructive criticism shows you what you need to work on and what sounds good in a positive way.  That’s the most important part.  Positivity.

What do you do when you encounter someone who is a bad critic? Last year, I wrote a post about my issues with a bad critic in my life, someone I like to call Critic Boy. I sent him a screenplay I was working on after he was interested in seeing what I had so far. I wanted a different view-point of it, so I thought why not? Once I heard what he had to say, I immediately regretted that decision.  In his opinion, nothing was good. My dialogue was awful (I think he used the word horrendous actually) and my characters were not relatable. At first I believed him, doubting what I wrote until I sent it to someone else who told me that yeah, I had some stuff to work on (all first drafts do), but it wasn’t “horrendous”. It was good and I should keep going. Suffice to say, I haven’t sent anything to Critic Boy after that.  Oh, and he has asked. But, he’s not reading it. At least not until it’s published. 🙂

Send your work in to people you trust. People who understand what constructive criticism is.  Make sure you leave your sensitivity at the door and swallow your pride when you hear some things that may not sit well.  Remember, first drafts aren’t perfect. You will have mistakes. It happens. So let go of that anxiety and get to work on that second draft!


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