How is your summer writing going? Are you busy, busy, busy this month revising text, writing query letters, shaping characters and writing some really great new stuff as well?
I’m just wondering, if during any of that, you have had a visit from your inner critic. You know, that annoying little guy in your head who is constantly telling you how far behind you are, how slow of a writer you are, how ridiculously mundane your ideas are, how you are not cut out to be a writer, or anything else for that matter. That one. The one that chastises you for not writing frequently enough or long enough or well enough. The one that keeps you from writing today because you didn’t write yesterday. In fact, you can’t even hear yourself think from all of his endless chatter about it.
Or maybe your inner critic is not a writer, but a so-called expert on some other aspect of your life. Maybe he criticizes your work, your art, your parenting, your management skills, the things you say in public or at meetings, how often you can keep your patience, how much willpower you have, or just you as a human being.
Well, today, I give you permission to fire him.
Sketch Guy is one of my favorite columns in the New York Times. It is supposed to be a column on personal finance, I think, but it is often sprinkled with articles on how to have a good life. And the first step to a good life is to stop your inner critic — which is really you — from beating yourself up.
Sketch Guy asks the all-important question:
“What might happen if you took all the energy that goes in to judging your work and put it right back into the wellspring of creating the work instead?”
I would go a step further.
“What might happen if you took all that energy that goes into judging yourself and put that right back into living your life instead?”
So, what are you waiting for? Do it right now. Fire your inner critic and get out there and live your life free of his endless chatter. Don’t worry about what he or anyone else thinks. Not your job anymore .