Silencing Your Inner Critic

This is a blog post I wrote for The Dragon’s Rocketship, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy group for authors, artists, readers, and all around fans located here:

On the web –  http://thedragonsrocketship.com

and

On Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1420653414841740/

 

Silencing Your Inner Critic
By S.J. Wolff

How many times have you looked at your work, rolled your eyes, sighed heavily and thought, “Oh boy, I suck at this”?

Too many. Right?

Don’t worry. You are not alone. We all have that little niggling, good-for-nothing voice pushing us down. No matter how skilled you are as an artist, a writer or overall creative soul this voice exists.

Why? We are not born into this world not believing in ourselves or our talents. We are not brought into this world with an awareness that we can fail. If we feared failure, would we stand up for the first time? Take those first hesitant steps forward learning to walk? No, we wouldn’t. We learn to walk because we have no one telling us that it is dangerous and we shouldn’t bother. We aren’t afraid. We know nothing of failure. This fear didn’t come from within. So, just where did this self-denigrating voice come from? It came from without. Someone somewhere in our life implanted this wicked little naysayer into our psyche where it then took root and has grown in the shadows ever since. While we’re looking over what we’ve created self-doubt opens the door for this shadow from our past to slink through. And boy does it wreak havoc when it does. It plays with our minds and tricks us into believing things that are not true. The longer we go with this voice calling to us from the darkness, the more we question our ability to create something of worth.

So, step one in conquering and dispelling the voice in the shadows is to shed some light on it.

We must identify the Voice so we can understand why it holds sway over us and take away its power.
The people around us, our relatives, friends, teachers all form our opinions of self-worth. They give us context for where we belong and what is valuable within us. Often times, without realizing it, they also give us baggage.

Some examples from my own life:

“You’re a slow learner.” (Teacher)

“You can’t accomplish without someone else’s help.” (Teacher)

“You talk just to hear yourself talk.” (Mother)

And perhaps the most damaging for my creative psyche, “Why do you waste so much time doodling with writing when you could be doing something more important? It’s a wonderful hobby but what are you going to do for real?” (Mother)

Now, I know you’ve all probably heard some semblance of that last one. Someone who told you that writing or your art is a great little hobby but not something that is “real”. But, all of these type of negative comments feed our wicked, false, and tricksy internal opportunist who is always looking for an opening to knock us down to size.

Think back. Who in your life could have triggered this voice in you? There may be one person or a few. It might have been while you were a child or while you were an adult. The only constant is that this voice is the voice of someone whose opinion mattered to you in some way.

Write down who they are and what they said to you. Stare at the words on the paper and understand, these are the words you have been wielding against yourself all the years forward from that moment in time when they were uttered by another person. These ARE NOT your words. Disown them. Disassociate with them. Separate them from who you are.

Now on to step two – Replace These Negative Words with New Positive Ones, either by you or by those who have encouraged you.

Where I had a teacher who said negative things that stuck with me, I remembered a teacher who was dearer to me than the first. At the time, her words were ignored in favor of the negative ones. I can’t tell you why. Perhaps it was because at home I was hearing the same negative type comments so this teachers comments rang “true” to me. Now, as an adult I realize there was only one person who’d tried to make a difference in my writing life. The others are the voices that have held me back from where I needed to be.

So, hers is the voice I replaced the others with.

Make a list of positive things people around you have said to you or about you. Replace the negatives with their voices.

Every time your internal critic tricks you into uttering, “I suck at this. Why do I even try,” stop it cold and replace it with, “A writer writes. It is who I am and who I’m meant to be. I learn from my mistakes and get better every day.”

Don’t fear your inner critic. Learn to control it. Self-doubt is natural. Critiquing one’s own work is necessary because without it we do not improve. But, there is a difference between critiquing your work and allowing it to move into self-flagellation. When the thoughts whispering through your mind are no longer constructive, when they tread on your talent with steel spiked boots leaving impressions that will only grow deeper, then it is time for the cycle to come to an end.

Butterflies and Books

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
~ Maya Angelou ~

A blurb to remember

After much hemming and hawwing, I finally came to terms with the fact that my blurb just wasn’t good enough. So, instead of having another go at it and forcing the issue I let my main character take a whack at it. This is what came of it:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~The Dagger of Aita: Retribution~

Throughout history we have been here. Born of the union between the Watchers and the Daughters of Men, our human hearts pump the blood of Angels through our veins. Yet, we are neither human nor Angel. We are the Alimentatori, descendants of the divine, and this is just the beginning…

In my two-hundred and sixty three years I have witnessed much, yet nothing could have prepared me for the devastating murder of my brother, Julian. While he lies in stasis awaiting The Release, his killer roams the Lazio region of Italy free to seek other victims. But, all is not right behind the veil of this ancient landscape. Its beauty hides a world of ancient secrets, hidden agendas and political intrigues. In order to extract my vengeance, I must first play a dangerous game according to another’s rules. Unfortunately for them, playing by the rules has never been my forte. Toppling a game-board or two would suit me just fine. Regardless of the dangers that lie ahead, Retribution will be mine. My name is Jacen Trudeau of the House of Samsaveel and I’m about to open Pandora’s Box.

A Better Blurb

Hello All!

I’ve been working the last couple of days to create a better blurb for my Amazon.com listing. I think I have finally managed to come up with something that works.

What do you think?

~~~~~

Throughout history we have been here. We were born of the union between the Watchers and the Daughters of Men. Our human hearts pump the blood of Angels through our veins yet, we are neither of one nor the other. Neither human nor Angel. We are the Alimentatori, descendants of the divine, and this is just the beginning…

In my two-hundred and sixty three years I have witnessed much, yet nothing could have prepared me for the devastating murder of my brother, Julian. While he lies in stasis awaiting The Release, his killer roams the Lazio region of Italy free to seek other victims. But, all is not right behind the veil of this ancient landscape. Its beauty hides a world of ancient secrets, hidden agendas and political intrigues. In order to extract my vengeance, I must first play a dangerous game according to another’s rules. Playing by the rules has never been my forte; toppling a game-board or two would suit me just fine! Regardless of the dangers that lie ahead, Retribution will be mine.

My name is Jacen Trudeau of the House of Samsaveel and I’m about to open Pandora’s Box. 

~~~~~

 

Retribution is mine…

I have a new blurb I’m thinking of putting on to my listing for Amazon. What do you all think?

Throughout history we’ve been here. Men and women whose genetic make-up is the stuff of Angels. Born of the union between the Watchers and the Daughters of Men my kind have given up the one thing that set us apart from the humans…our wings. Now hidden in plain sight, neither human nor Angel, we live secluded secret lives appearing as human as the man who sells you groceries or the woman who walks your dog.

I am no different. I am Jacen Trudeau of the House of Samsaveel. Like my people I have fought for my existence. When just a child, I survived a deadly attack which took the lives of my parents. Their loss drew my brother, Julian and I closer than we’d ever been. He cared for me, guided me through life, and wanted nothing more than to restore our family name. We were well on our way to fulfilling his dream when he was taken from me, murdered by a walking, talking urban legend on the night of his Ascension.

I was much too young to seek vengeance for my parents, but my brother’s killer won’t be so fortunate. A beast or no, they will die by my hand.

Though my world may never be right again, retribution is mine.

 

It Has Begun…

That’s right!
The Cyber Monday Countdown Sale has begun!!
Get the Kindle E-book version of The Dagger of Aita: Retribution for just .99 cents! But, that price won’t last long! So, hurry on over and pick it up before the price goes up!

Cyber Monday Countdown Sale

Cyber Monday Countdown Sale!

Monday morning bright and early you will be able to get The Dagger of Aita: Retribution Kindle Ebook download for the starting price of just .99 cents. But, that price won’t last long, so, don’t miss out!

I write like…

the-writer2

Today I came across a neat little text analyzer. You put in a portion of text and it compares it to well known authors, analyzes it and tells you who you most closely resemble in writing style, word choice, etc.

I decided to test my mettle against world famous authors and see where I landed. I went to me first book, Retribution, and pulled out the first two pages of text and ran it through the analyzer. It came out as Arthur C. Clarke. Not sure if it was just a random thing, I clicked on the analyze new text and put the same text back in two more times. Each time it came out Arthur Clarke. Well, I knew that my style of writing changed within the books (as I got more comfortable with the characters and world I’d created) so I decided to do an experiment. I took text from the middle of my book and the end of it as well. Ran each piece through the analyzer and repeated it three times just like I had with the beginning portion. Each portion…the middle and the end…came out with Neil Gaiman.

In the beginning I wrote like Arthur C. Clarke, which I am absolutely fine with. Nothing wrong with him! Then something changed. Maybe I relaxed into my writing or was so immersed into the world I’d created I let go. Whatever it was, my inner Neil Gaiman came out.

So, my take away from this….if you like Arthur C. Clarke and Neil Gaiman you’ll love my work! 😉

I write like Neil Gaiman. Proof: http://iwl.me/s/68c65cc