del alma: Meet, and Quiet, Your Inner Critic
I had a wonderful and enlightening conversation with the writer and writing coach Charlotte Rains Dixon this summer.
I had turned to her for inspiration, and for encouragement, on finishing my novel, a fictional story I’ve been working on for more than a decade. (Da pena!)
I gave her excellent excuses — kid, freelance, toilets to clean, blog, blah blah blah — for not doing the work.
She immediately asked me who my Inner Critic is, asked me if I had met her, or him, or troll or whatever it may be.
It appears my Inner Critic is a vieja in a house dress. A metiche know-it-all who goes negative even before she hears the facts. Someone who says no, no, y no. She tells me que me porte bien, which at this age, I am not sure I need. She also tells me there is more important stuff to do — like trapear y cocinar — than finish a novel that may never get published.
Meet Your Inner Critic, An Exercise
Here is how I met my Inner Critic, based on Charlotte’s instruction:
Find a quiet half hour, take some deep breaths and ask the Inner Critic to come forward. Don’t resist.
What does she look like? Ask her or him, or whomever what they need and want.
“I did this 20 years ago and my critic is a little gnome named Patrick,” she told me.
Once the critic is identified, make a deal with the critic to leave you alone when you are creating, when you’re working, exploring. Let the critic come when the time for precision and actual critique is called for.
Pero, not when you are creating.
Since I was inspired by Charlotte to meet my Inner Vieja, I have taken to saying “Ay, Vieja, no chives. Let loose a little!” when I feel poked at.
Meeting my critic was a reminder not to get mangled in perfection, because perfection kills creativity and spontaneity.
The book? Well, I’ve dusted it off a few times and I’ve gone back to re-read the chapters I have written. I’ve made new notes, killed off a few characters, given new focus to another character and the plan is revived to get it done al fin.
At least while La Vieja is under control.
Who is your Inner Critic? Does it stop you from creating? From living fully? From taking chances?
If you could make a deal with your Inner Critic, what do you think you would be inspired to do?
How do You inspire others to unleash their best?