Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Forgot about THEM--and they got stronger

Okay, so going along more-or-less merrily during my school year, in which I HAD to write because things were due (the joy of extrinsic motivation), I'd completely forgotten about THE CRITICS. Now that it's summer, I realized that, despite my pretty lists, they're back with me in spades.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, Anne Lamott's fabulous writing-neuroses book Bird by Bird puts it best:
What I've learned to do when I sit down to work on a s***ty first draft is to quiet the voices in my head. First there's the vinegar-lipped Reader Lady, who says primly, "Well, that's not very interesting, is it?" And there's the emaciated German male who writes these Orwellian memos detailing your thought crimes. And there are your parents, agonizing over your lack of loyalty and discretion; and there's William Burroughs, dozing off or shooting up because he finds you as bold and articulate as a houseplant; and so on.
She suggests visualizing each voice as a mouse, picking up each by the tail, and dropping them in a jar.

I'm going to try it. My critics are different from hers. In fact, most of them aren't criticizing my writing at the moment, but at the moment are taking on other things in my life. No matter the object, they're completely blocking off most of my ability to do stuff (ironically, academic work as much as anything else). Something must be done, especially since I'm pretty sure they've strengthened their muscles, what with the critic growth that's encouraged in grad school.

Now that I've recognized I have a critic problem, it's all about triage. I think a bout of Julia Cameron's morning pages are in order.

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