Everyone has an inner critic. The inner critic is there to protect you from doing dangerous things. But it can also make us too cautious.But writing isn’t dangerous and we should learn to use our inner critic to help us write.
The inner critic serves as a guardian angel to keep you safe and doing something dangerous. When it comes to life and death situations, the anxiety from your inner critic causes you not to act. But you don’t need your inner critic to write.You need to act to write. Have your inner critic give you permission to write.
I just finished a book about my experiences with my partner who died of Alzheimer’s in his sixties (Touch My Head Softly, Finishing Line Press, 2021.) It was a hard book to write and i struggled with my inner critic. But the writer in me won out in the end.
Part of the proceeds of the book will go to the Alzheimer’s Association, so it’s all positive. Take a look:
I have many unfinished poems. Billy Collins says five or six poems wind up in his trash bin before he gets one that’s a keeper.
The concept of being complete is an interesting one. If you are complete, you don’t have to strive to do anything else. You don’t have to reinvent yourself.
We can change as we develop new skills, new experiences, new outlooks. That’s what makes the writing interesting. We adapt to new circumstances and overcome limitations. This affects our writing.
I wrote a book that was just published by Finishing Line Press:
After it was published, I floundered for awhile, trying to write different things, but not really liking any of the new work. Then I started on a new longer poem about the drowning earth. Here’s an excerpt:
“Cuando sale la luna, el mar cubre la tierra
When the moon rises, water covers the earth”
–Federico García Lorca
I want to begin with the boat. It was a thing of beauty.
Can one be seduced by a boat? I was.
This project intrigued me and I continue to work on it today. How do you stay engaged with your writing?
When I taught writing, I always had my students to a rough draft before the actual paper. A rough draft should include a clear direction in your paper. When you are required to submit a rough draft, it doesn’t need to be perfect, but it should be complete. That means, you shouldn’t be missing any of the major parts of the paper.
You should begin with a draft. Write a draft and then walk away and return again. Your second and third draft will probably be better.
When I wrote my recent poetry collection, Touch My Head Softly (Finishing Line Press, 2021,) I didn’t have a draft. The poems came slowly through the years. If I did have the rough draft of what I wanted the collection to look like, it would have gone much more quickly. It was five years in the making.
My new book can be viewed at:
This is the link to my book on Goodreads
If it were fiction, if it did not lacerate the heart to know the truth behind it, Lanette Sweeney’s poetry memoir about losing a child to drugs would only be tragically beautiful. As it is, it is devastating, featuring poetry by her lost son Kyle [Fisher-Hertz] along with her own. Speaking the unspeakable for her own peace, and for the understanding of the rest of us, is Sweeney’s mission. The only thing better than reading these tender, elegiac, broken words would be for her to never have needed to write them.
–Jacquelyn Mitchard, author, The Deep End of the Ocean and 18 other novels.