In my third post on the topic of how to Write Your Memoir and Still Go Home for the Holidays, I want to focus on the writing critics–both inner and outer–that often creep into our writing life.
All creative artists, including writers, must wrestle with negative and doubting critics, both inner & outer voices, the kind that are defeating and discouraging. The source of the inner critic can be from society,
“Why do you have to write THAT? Just get on with your life.”
Or from family, “How dare you air our dirty laundry!”
Sometimes we have internalized the inner English teacher—the kind that demanded perfection,
“You can’t write, you don’t know how. Just stop while you’re ahead.”
There are “nice” inner critics: “You’re tired, you’ve had a hard life. Just have a glass of wine, put up your feet, and start on that story tomorrow.”
And many people, especially if they were mistreated, criticized or abused, have a harsh inner critic:
“You should be ashamed to put such drivel on the page.”
“Shut up! How dare you speak like that? You will kill us if you say that.”
One of the worst: “You are soooo boring. Stop now.”
Everyone I have coached over the years has some kind of inner or outer writing critic, and we must all wrestle with them and come to terms with them if we are to write.
In my upcoming telephone-based workshop at NAMW, we will keep the line open so you can share your inner critic voices—and I expect that some of you will have “outer critic” or family voices to add to the chorus—so we can come up with a method that you can use to help you keep writing.
Sue William Silverman said in her NAMW interview that rewriting and being committed to writing your story is the way to succeed, and Mary Karr said, “being a writer is not about talent, it is about perseverance.” So let’s trust in these experts and their experience. They both had to combat their inner and outer critics too.
Join me to find new tools to work with your critics. I promise to tell you about some of my outer critics and how really BAD my inner critic was, and how hard I had to work to tame it so I could keep writing.