Guest Post: Silencing The Inner Critic By Cheryl Douglas
There is one thing most writers’ fear above all else, aside from bad reviews, writer’s block. Just the term often conjures up angst. What happens if I wake up one morning, turn on my computer, and nothing comes to me? My creativity has dried up, my imagination has disappeared… I’m at a loss. What will I do if I can’t create characters that live in imaginary worlds?
Although I haven’t experienced this first hand, I know many other writers who have, and it’s usually the result of a trigger. They may have received a series of bad reviews or harsh feedback from their editor, numerous rejection letters from publishers, criticism from readers, or a combination of these factors. In time, they begin to doubt themselves, and their voice. Their inner critic begins to take over, creating a creative block.
I think this phenomenon, known as writer’s block, interests me because of the underlying factors contributing to it. What is going on inside the writer’s head to create this block? Are they allowing the negative thoughts to dominate their consciousness? Are they allowing the fear of disappointing their readers to paralyze them?
As a writer, I can tell you that none of us are immune. I’ve often heard other writer’s say that your work will only begin to flourish when you’re able to silence the voices inside your head. I don’t know about them, but if I ever managed to silence the voices in my head, I’d have nothing to write about! I assume they mean the negative voices, or our inner critic.
I read a blog post written by J.A. Konrath recently, who has had incredible success as a self-published author. He was reporting that a recent project took him three times longer than it should have to complete because instead of following his muse, he allowed self-doubt to creep in, and he questioned himself every step of the way. In my opinion, if he falls prey to this problem, we’re all susceptible.
As a writer, once you turn off your conscious mind and allow your muse to have free reign, you have the potential to create something great because your inner sensor isn’t there to question you. You’re in the moment, living in your imaginary world, with your characters, feeling their pain and angst, responding as they would, and it comes out on the page, through you. I love it when this happens, and I wake up every day hoping to have this experience. Of course, some days it’s easier to get in the zone than other days. Sometimes I have a long to-do list, and my mind wanders, or I have trouble motivating myself to complete my word count goal for the day, but when I do find my place in the zone, it’s amazing. I often look back on my work for the day and wonder, how the heck did that happen?
Bad reviews, rejection, harsh feedback, and criticism hurt, but as seasoned writers will tell you, you just have suck it up and get back to work. So, I’m trying to follow their advice, trust my muse to guide me, and hope that I always wake up with the blessed with an overactive imagination and too little time to put it all down on the page. For a writer, that’s a great problem to have.
Synopsis for Fearless:
Lexi Brooks has overcome adversity to build a successful real estate business that will enable her live life on her terms. The life she envisions includes travel, fun, and excitement, not marriage, kids or commitment. But will Trey’s sexy bodyguard throw a wrench into her plans?
Being a cop taught Josh Cooper to take calculated risks, but he’s tired of living with the daily threat of danger. He’s ready to settle down with someone who wants to be a step-mother to his two teenage sons. Too bad Lexi isn’t that woman. She’s smart, sexy, and head-strong, and they’re totally in sync in the bedroom, but she isn’t willing to ‘settle’ for a life of domestic bliss. Or is she?
Synopsis for Shameless:
Trey Turner may be topping the country music charts but his life has been going downhill since his wife left him five years ago. He’s desperate to make amends for the mistakes he’s made and convince Sierra their love deserves a second chance.
Sierra Brooks is happy for the first time since her divorce. She has a career she loves and a fiancé who loves her.
Unfortunately, her fiancé isn’t the only man professing his love. He may be able to offer her safety and security but will she decide to risk everything for another chance with the man who broke her heart?
About The Author:
It took me thirty-seven years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I’d found my calling. In fact, I worked as a nutritionist for twelve years before I finally admitted to myself that while I enjoyed my work, I couldn’t imagine doing it for the next thirty years.
My sub-conscious knew that I wanted to be a writer long before the conscious part of my mind decided to get with the program. While my sub-conscious was hard at work creating character profiles, plots and storylines, my conscious mind was telling me it was crazy to give up a successful business on the off-chance one of my manuscripts might rise to the top of someone’s never-ending slush pile. After years of listening to that negative voice, I was finally ready to stop making excuses, face the fear and follow my dream of becoming a full-time writer, no matter the outcome. I’m so thankful I did.
I love bringing my characters to life and I am so grateful to have readers who love those characters as much as I do.
When I take a break from writing it’s to spend time with my husband (a.k.a. my real life hero), my son, and my writing partner, Tia, a spirited Havanese who enjoys tapping her paw on my keyboard whenever I need a little comic relief.