Before diving into creative writing, just a small intro (this is my first post, after all). Why create this website, you may ask. Well, writing can be an incredibly lonely craft. I can spend days inside my head, building places or talking to people who don’t exist. That’s why it’s so important to compensate your working hours with a solid social component. With this in mind, I decided to create this place for sharing, like a shelter for creative minds. Thus, I shall share (oof, annoying alliteration!) stories, burdens and joys, exercises, tips, and also a handful of topics that may seem unrelated but will help you feel inspired. Therefore, I’m kicking off with Mr./Mrs./Ms. Inner Critic.
Writing is more than just sitting and tapping your fingertips on a keyboard (or whichever is your favorite method). It’s thinking, creating, observing, defying, and the list goes on. To fuel our writing process, we need to turn chaos into order, be productive, and stay creative and not just wait indefinitely for inspiration to come.
Passion is fundamental for any ongoing craft. It’s the one lifesaver you hold on to when dark times come. It’s what keeps you grounded in writing. Even if it’s not with you from the start, getting there is also a journey.
My relationship with writing was like having a best friend with a crush; writing was always there, watching me fall in love with everything else. I loved music, drawing, painting, and writing, mostly comedy, but I didn’t write fiction for real until I was in my early twenties. Even now, if I don’t take some time off from time to time, it’s like being in a siamese relationship with no boundaries. Yet, there is a small difference between too much exposure and lack of passion [I mention this in my other post about meeting Christopher Paolini]. That’s why it’s important to take some time off from time to time to reboot and start fresh. If after that time you still feel like writing…yup! That’s passion!
“When you tell your inner critic: ‘it’s ok, I can handle it’; it turns into a built-in quality checker for your writing.”
Marti Silvestre – Writemosphere
The first step into a happier creative mindset is dealing with whatever is preventing you from just sitting down and let the words pour. The biggest adversary is that inner whispering voice telling you you should go fishing or sewing instead. No matter what the craft is, that voice always tells you to do something else.
I’m not afraid of that voice anymore. The inner critic is there because it’s part of you, it’s a part of you that doesn’t want to fail, that doesn’t want to look stupid, wants to have everything under control and in the most comfortable way possible. When you tell the inner critic, “it’s ok, I trust you, but you don’t have to be terrified all the time. I can handle it”, the inner critic turns into a built-in quality checker for your writing. However, dealing with your inner critic and nurturing them is NOT a one-time task. It’s like doing laundry; if you want to dress clean every day, you must wash your clothes regularly.
Here’s one funny writing exercise, inspired by one episode of Jane the Virgin.
Imagine your inner critic as a person. What do they look like? Any particular features? Notice tone of voice, appearance, and personality. Write down every feature you can think of.
Then take them out for coffee and ask them questions. You can start by describing the place, but let the focus be on Inner Critic.
This exercise works like the Heimlich maneuver for creatives. It’s more symbolic than anything, but I find it’s a great way of deconstructing what is bugging me. Even if you think this isn’t going anywhere, give it a try. You’ll be surprised by the characters you come up with. Feel free to share your results in the comments section.