February 13, 2018

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Answering my inner critic

February 13, 2018

 

Who’s our biggest critic? Who’s our worst enemy? We are! Oh Lord, we so are.

Not that we wanna be narcissistic, overconfident douchebags...but the total other end of the scale can be really detrimental and, quite frankly, exhausting.

I’ve always been a bit prone to the fun 3am “I SUCK. WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE” mentality but I didn’t realise how loud that voice would get when I started this book project. I assumed I would be held back by not having enough time, inspiration or good places to write. But it was the loud, relentless, critical place in between my ears that has been by far my biggest struggle.

 

We can’t stop negative thoughts from popping up (not for want of trying) and ignoring them can feel impossible. But we can work on how much time and weight we give them.

I’m going to try and give my inner critic enough time so I can answer them back and then, in the future when they inevitably creep in, I can say to myself “We’ve been through this, move on.” (there was a lot of confusion in that sentence as to which pronoun to use...got way too meta, apologies).**

 

 No one will want to read your book (except maybe your mum).

 

OK! I set myself a goal to finish a big project that means a lot to me, that I’m compelled to do, and I am determined to complete and prove to myself I can. This right now is the driving momentum. I will write my truth in the best way I can...and if it still sucks at the end then at least I gave it a shot.

 

Also, my mum rocks and I’ll take what I can get.

You will be rejected, brutally, by all agents and publishers.

 

Yup, maybe! But I’ll hopefully learn a lot by doing so and even the idea of having something to present to an agent or publisher fills me with excited butterflies.

 

Most of all, I’m super willing to find out.

 **You make spelling and grammatical errors all the time, how can you call yourself a writer?

 

OK, first off, “all the time?” bit harsh. I mean, I write a lot so the stats aren’t really in my favour ;) But, yes, I’m not formally educated in this area and I do tend to write faster than my brain can make eloquent managerial suggestions. But so what? I will edit, I will refine (and that’s what editors are there to help with).
Importantly, I will write my truth and do so authentically. That’s what makes good writers.

 

And tea. Tea helps too.

 

You don’t even have a daughter! How can you know what you would want to say to her?

 

I am in no way commenting on the relationship between mother and daughter, it’s beyond my comprehension how that would be from this side of the table at this time. If I do have a daughter I might even change my mind about what would be in a book like this but that in itself is interesting enough to have and reflect upon.
Truthfully, I’m not writing for MY daughter. I’m writing for all young women. I’m writing about what I wish I had known growing up (still growing up!).


There are enough white middle-class writers in the world, you should be giving this platform to others.

 

Ooof this one claws at my mind A LOT and I’m not sure if I can, or will ever, rectify this in my mind properly.
I would like to think, or hope, that my putting another book in the world doesn’t mean the potential book of another doesn’t get to exist.

BUT that’s not the end of it. I know that’s not good enough for me. Starting this journey has reinforced to me how important it is and how much I want to help give more of a voice to those who don’t have the same privileges as me.
I want to do more and I will.

(sidenote: I have no idea if I count as “middle class” now but regardless I’m still very much a working class girl at heart)

 

Why is it taking so long?!

 

‘Cus I have a full time job, other side projects, a social life (well...kind of), a wedding to plan and quite frankly I’ve already spent too much time arguing with this inner critic!
To be real, I know my frustration here is also partly from excitement and exhaustion. I want so BADLY for this to exist in the world which is what pushes me. But it will be done when it’s done.

Also, chill your beans, I only just started the whole thing again from scratch like 2 weeks ago sooooo...

 

Wouldn’t it be easier to just give up on this project and get your guilt-free evenings and free time back?

 

OK, first, “guilt-free” free time isn’t a super known concept to me haha so I might as well be spending it on writing! Actually, it’s what I want to do with my time. Truly it is. It’s the demon critic voices I’m fed up of.

“Real” writers work on novels. Your book isn’t as meaningful.

 

Every book has value in the world! I am completely in awe of all the novel writers I’m following online (you guys are wizards) and fiction has played a really important part in my life but right now this is just what I’m compelled to write about.

Yes, I won’t be transporting people to amazing far off places with complex, wonderful characters and plot lines that leave you gripped….but I might resonate with somebody, somewhere even on a small level. And that’s still the greatest thing I can imagine.

 

What’s your inner critic telling you? How can you answer back in a way that you might advise a good friend? After all, we can all work on being better friends to ourselves.

 

Quick off-topic note: Always write your blog posts (or anything else for that matter) on Google Docs, or another platform that has auto-save, before uploading to your blog platform.

This is the 2nd time I’m writing this blog post...oops. Oh the inner critic crept up on me then! :P

 

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Ruth Rostrup 2019

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