Tuesday, August 30, 2011

you can't please everyone

I was looking forward to getting back to work on my novel today. Last week I posted every day as part of the Spark Blogfest so I didn't make much progress on anything else. I also thought it would be nice to enjoy some peace and quiet after last week's earthquake and hurricane.

Alas, it was not to be.

As soon as I sat down to work this morning, who showed up but the dog...the one who nudges my arm relentlessly until I surrender and take her out. Again and again. All day long.

This one.

Before long the boys in the basement started hooting and hollering about something, but did they send up a single thing? No! Not one line of dialogue, not a single strong verb, not one fresh metaphor.
I had to remind them to settle down and get back to work.

Then who walked in...uninvited...but my Inner Critic. I hate it when she shows up. She stared over my shoulder all morning long and nixed every line I wrote, "Nope. Not good enough. Nah. Get rid of it." She was starting to get on my nerves when my oppositional-defiant muse showed up.
I explained the problem to her. So we brainstormed for a while without much luck until she leaned back and said, "Listen. If this feels right to you...if this is the story you want to tell, then stick with it. Your fantasy-thriller-horror loving friends may not get it, but your literary friends will love it."

Well! You should have seen the look on my inner critic's face! She picked up her things and stomped out of the house in a huff. And by the looks of things I don't think she'll be back any time soon.

Thank God for my muse. The way she explained it to me today was this: If you don't love what you have written, no one else will. You can't please everyone, but you must please yourself.

So I'm ready to get back to work today...before the dogs get restless, before the boys in the basement start acting up, and before my inner critic has second thoughts and shows up at the back door again. If you ask me, she's just lonely...with some borderline tendencies.

How do you handle your inner critic? Does she ever get you down? Has your muse ever stepped in to help?
"Don't let them tame you!"
--Isadora Duncan--
In my next post, I'm going to talk about what Julia Cameron refers to as "crazymakers".


  1. My inner critic likes to sit on me like my older brother used to do when it was his turn to babysit. I'd struggle to free myself and just get tired and nowhere in the process. Blogging does help, though. It's a different kind of writing, and it is rewarding in its own way. Glad to read your blog via Jillian's nomination!

  2. Thanks Lori. I enjoy the challenge of blogging because it's as close as I get to writing off the top of my head and then asking for feedback on it...rather than obsessing over every word!

  3. I try to work through the critic's opinion and come back later and see if I agree.