Inner critics and advocates


Everyone has an inner critic. At the risk of sounding like I have multiple personalities, I’d like to introduce you to mine: She is called Gretel. Her disparaging remarks – “well-intentioned” critiques meant to  “enlighten” me – feel more like vandalism than an objective assessment of my work. There are times when Gretel rules the page and writing becomes intolerable, so much so that I give up out of weariness. This is the only time Gretel smiles. But far from dispising Gretel, I am grateful for her presence. You see, Gretel is not evil, on the contrary she is excessively helpful. Her intention is not to kill the writer, but to defend her, to prepare her. Gretel is the weigh station before I take my precious cargo on the public road. She’s not always right, but honestly I can’t imagine writing without her. (Tomorrow when she’s giving me a hard time I might feel differently). I’ve learned when to listen to Gretel, when to consider her concerns and act when she has a point, but I’ve also learned that Gretel has a counterpart – for obvious reasons I’ve called him Hansel. Hansel is the ballast. His role is not to extol my virtues as a writer, but restore equilibrium when the inner critic is renegade. Hansel reminds me that Gretel’s job is to protect the writer, not shut her down, that her role is not entirely destructive. Discovering that the inner critic has a counterweight was a revelation for me. Though it isn’t bullet proof, the inner advocate allows me to distinguish between what is a genuine and fair evaluation of a project and what is inspired by self-pity and negativity. The trick is to listen to both inner voices.

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About Sharon

Writer, bibliophile, dreamer and student of everything
This entry was posted in ME ON WRITING, Writer's anxiety and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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