The Words that Killed the Critic

I’ve never been one for quotes in my writing space. Many writers live and die by the mantras surrounding their workspace, but I find it distracting for the most part. Except for one.

There are no good first drafts.

At first read, I guess this could be considered discouraging, but I find it really freeing. It takes out all the pressure.

No book is good the first time down. I can write whatever I must just to get it down on the page. I can deal with the mess later. Spelling and grammar? What are those? Plotting? Who needs it!

Perfectionism has been something I’ve struggled with for a while. It causes the little critic in the front of my brain to tell me all sorts of nasty things as I try to do what I’m called to.

“You aren’t making this interesting.”
“Who is going to read this?”
“What makes you think you have what it takes to write a story?”
“That’s a dumb idea. Why would you write that?”
“You suck.”
“Just stop.”

It’s enough to paralyze the best writer. And I’m just an amateur here!

When the self-talk gets to be too much, I find my mantra to be so reassuring. There are no good first drafts. Why should I try to write one when it’s not possible? What is possible is just a rough draft. Heavy on the rough. The critic has nothing on that.

When I am able to be freed from my self-critic, my creativity is able to roam free and my writing reaches places I never would have had I listened to the perfectionist in my brain. My characters can be who they are and the plot flows freely.

What encourages you in your writing? What keeps the critic at bay and the creativity in open pastures? I’d love to hear!

           – Lex

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