This is main title of book Diane Lunsford. Bunch of Diane Lunsford Books

The Critic Within

Arrest the critic within. Disallow it to seize what could be your best work. True, a writer must have a plan as to the direction he or she is going, but the story must first be committed to paper. I would venture to guess some of my best work has been compromised simply because I allowed my ‘critic’ to  re-write, edit, and re-write again to such a point of distraction, I had completely snuffed-out my creative connection. Structure is somewhat of an oxymoron when endeavoring to be creative; yet there has to be some sort of semblance. A solid plot is a good start. Sadly, we will never get there if we insist on manipulating the message (and meaning) at the starting gate; thanks to the presence of the critic within.

What comes to mind for me is Charles Shultz’ beloved character Snoopy. Years ago, I subscribed to home delivery of the Sunday newspaper. I admit I was particularly drawn to the Sunday Funnies. When I got to the Peanuts comic strip, invariably, Snoopy would be perched upon the roof of his dog house with his paws resting on his typewriter’s keyboard. There would be a thought bubble over his head that read: ‘It was a dark and stormy night…’  Week after week, that same thought appeared over his head. Clearly, his critic within had high jacked his creativity and was holding it hostage.

I’m much more aware of my own critic today than I was even five years ago. I’ve learned what a negative impact its existence poses on my own creative flow. There is no magic formula that spells out what the perfect blend of words should be. A writer is able to feel it when it happens. What I do know is when I get the compulsion to self- critique or self-edit, I shut the notion down. The experience of riding the wave of writing flow and paying word upon word forward in the development of a story is far more productive and quite fantastic as well.

Here is some food for thought:  Someone was once praised with the completion of his manuscript with the following sentiment:  ‘Congratulations!  You’ve just completed the first draft of your novel…’  The moral to this story is just that. When you finish your first draft, the critic within is allowed to participate in the second…




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