Even though finding a terrible review of any of your writing can slice your soul in two, and have you spending a week in your jammies going through super deluxe boxes of tissues, some of your own inner dialogue has probably been a lot worse at various points along the way. Perfection is something we all secretly wish for, but perfection in any pursuit, creative or otherwise is probably something attained only accidentally. NaNoWriMo November is fabulous because there really isn’t any time for agonizing over sentences, and you have a golden free writing ticket to bang away at your story without any exact sense of expectation for the outcome. If it sucks when it’s done, that’s perfectly alright. There will be lots of time for repair later.
If we could inject some of that good stuff – that happy, fearless scribbling – into our day to day writing lives, we’d probably produce more of our best work. In fact, I think that a lot of our best work gets deleted and never sees the light of day because of the stern critique we often subject our own writing to. I don’t think that I’ve ever read anything, no matter how much I loved it, that was perfect in every single respect. Maybe I found only a single sentence in a hundred thousand word book ever so slightly jarring, which made it not entirely perfect for me, but someone else probably loved that very sentence and found something else lacking in perfection.
Self-confidence is often in short supply in creative souls. We’re mostly quite an empathic lot – total softies. Probably we have to be to convey feelings that we may not have personally needed to feel in our stories, so we’re overly sensitive to what kind of effect we have on others to begin with. Add to that the potential infliction of our very own creations on others who might hate it, or think badly of us for having the temerity to actually try and sell it to them, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a pretty mean inner critic.
For all you NaNoers out there, prepare to tie that critic up with industrial strength rope in eight days time. Get out the duct tape while you’re at it so he can’t yell when you accidently pinch him as you toss him into the cupboard. Anything that flows from your fingertips for thirty whole days is going to be straight from your scribblers soul – no matter what it is, and what you’d ordinarily think of it. Write it down and leave it alone till after you’ve slept through the entire day and night on the first of December. And for those of you not partaking in any NaNo madness this year, how about you send that little guy who chuckles and sneers in your ear on a month long holiday anyway? Whatever you’re writing right now, save the critique till the very last month of this year, and have at that scribbling!