Writing

An Open Letter To My Inner Critic

To the bane of my existence (aka, my inner critic),

 

 

I won’t beat around the bush: you truly are the worst part of my mind.

I know you think you’re being helpful, telling me to play it safe and not show anyone my writing because “what if it sucks?” Or “wow… this is SO weird, never show anyone this.” Or, my personal favorite, “you’re no good at writing, so maybe you should save yourself the effort and just go back to college.”

HEY. News for ya? IT’S NOT HELPFUL. You just make it so much harder to do the thing I love.

And then you just get into the really malicious stuff that doesn’t even sound like it’s pretending to be constructive: “that’s a horrible sentence, oh, just start the entire paragraph over,” and “this plot is going nowhere, better just scrap it all.”

The worst part of it is that you make me feel like such a failure that I’ll avoid my stories for days on end.

It’s kind of ironic, because even as I write this to you, I’m hearing the whisper: “that sounds forced, are you sure this isn’t gonna be too short?”

I’m writing YOU a letter. So shut up.

I’m done letting you make me feel bad about things I wrote months and years ago. Because those things may not be the epitome of my writing journey, but that’s just what it is; A JOURNEY. Realizing that what I’ve written in the past isn’t all it could’ve been just means I’m growing as a writer.

 

realizing that what I’ve written in the past isn’t all it could’ve been just means I’m growing as a writer.

 

You’ve taken the joy out of writing from me for the last time. Because if I’m not enjoying it, then why do it?

So I will allow myself to fail.

I will allow myself to mess up.

I will allow myself to write things that aren’t perfect in every little way.

Because the wonderful magic of being a writer is that I don’t have to get it right the first time. Hell, I don’t even have to get it right the first twenty times. It’s about letting my stories and characters teach me something, or show me something, and maybe showing it to other people eventually so they can discover the same things I did, not about using adverbs or not using adverbs, or playing it safe all the time, or monitoring the amount of commas I use.

So I guess you could say I’m shifting my priorities.

Your picky little nit-picks are going to the bottom of the list.

I will still be treating my writing with the respect it deserves, yes, but it will not be perfect by any means.

And y’know what? That’s okay.

Toodles, PUNK.

Thanks for reading, guys! I’m sure this is relatable for a lot of you writers out there (or it will be, since Camp NaNo is less than two weeks away), and so this is just a little reminder not to be so hard on yourself and to not let that little voice in your head stop you from writing and having fun this July! Also, since I’m sure your first sentence is already on your mind (it’s definitely on mine), I made a YouTube video on how to construct the perfect first sentence, which you can view here. Enjoy!

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