Surprise: Just Say NO to Critical Voice!

I love a good surprise, and I especially love surprising that nagging, inner voice known as Critical Voice.  It tries to hijack my writing.  Does this ever happen to you?

Critical Voice likes to keep up a running dialogue with me as I write.  Here are some samples of what CV will sometimes say to me:

  • “Why did you pick this word when that one will express it better?”
  • “Can’t you think of anything more intelligent for this character to do?”
  • “And by the way, why are you even writing this stupid story?”
  • “It’s time for lunch/chocolate/popcorn/FB now.”
  • “Don’t you know you can’t write about that?”
  • “Wait until your mother reads this garbage.”
  • “This plot is really stupid.  In fact, you are stupid.”

And so on.

I bet you hear this kind of stuff, too.  It’s the job of Critical Voice to derail you.  I say:  just say NO!

One time I was writing against a deadline with an assignment that I thought was pretty sketchy in the first place.  I was tired, it was late, and my brain was hurting.  Critical Voice whined and yelled and hurled everything it had at me.  I kept reminding CV of a piece of advice that has always helped me through such situations:  “It doesn’t have to be good; it has to be done.”

Imagine CV’s surprise later when that story ended up selling.

Another time I was writing (once again) to deadline, but this time I had the luxury of enough think time.  Research and noodling were going great, until… oh no, I got sick.  I hadn’t budgeted sick time in bed.  I had to sleep a while, but then hauled myself out of bed to write another page.  Slept some more, wrote another page.  “Give it up,” CV said.  The story was making absolutely no sense, CV sagely informed me.  How could it make sense, under the influence of fever?

Imagine CV’s surprise later when that story ended up selling.

I love surprising Critical Voice.

Just tell it NO when it swears it’s right.  Let an editor decide about a story’s worthiness.  If you don’t write it, then an editor can’t evaluate one way or the other.  Besides, you might end up with a great, delicious surprise.


9 thoughts on “Surprise: Just Say NO to Critical Voice!”

  1. yeah, getting CV all the time…Im experimenting on how to deal with it because Im becoming more and more aware of its presence. Sometimes I think it works with just accepting it is there and try not to cling to it…just let it say its line and continue do whatever Im doing…sometimes I do say NO to it…out loud…sometimes it outsmarts me and I dont even notice it got me…but hey…becoming wiser about it with each new experience 🙂 cheers


  2. Love this. I think we all have a CV. A running friend of mine calls it a “gremlin.” I love imagining stuffing my gremlin in a box and telling it to be quiet ’cause I’ve got things to do.


  3. I agree, lunarlidi! Acknowledging CV seems to make it go away and pout for a little while.

    Very true, Kait! I keep telling mine that I’ll fix it later.

    Love the gremlin, Mary!

    Good luck, Theresa!


  4. I’ve done a good job learning to tune CV out, but still, I know she’s there. Sometimes it’s not only our own CV, but we project the criticism we expect to hear from others, and that’s crippling, too. It’s empowering to say NO!


  5. Excellent point, Diane! Others’ expectations are just as restrictive (can’t let Mom read this).

    Love it, Cynthia! CV is late to the party!

    Thanks, Julie! It’s really hard to ignore those words on the screen when they can be changed so easily.


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