POINT OF VIEW: The Roller Coaster and the Inner Critic

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Hey all,

As anyone who knows me or follows this column knows, it’s been a wild month. It was just about a month ago that we discovered how much GDPR (the new EU privacy law) would require of us as a company, and how little time (3 weeks!!!) we had to accomplish it.

It also landed squarely in the lead-up to the release of “The River City Chronicles,” my first self-published work.

It also happened to be the month when I was due to finish writing Ithani, and one of my beta readers threw me a (much needed) curve ball there which meant much of the story had to be restructured.

And finally, my novel “The Stark Divide” had a sale, and as a result, climbed to the top of the gay sci fi chart at Amazon for five days.

Oh, and did I mention that Sac Pride was yesterday?

So finally things seem to be calming down. I need to get me an “I survived GDPR” t-shirt, because seriously, it destroyed my life for three weeks. 😛

Now I take a deep breath and start picking up the pieces.

Anyone who writes and can’t do it full-time will tell you what a juggling act it is to manage life, work, and writing in the body of one standard-issue human being. I write because I need to do it, because I love to tell stories, because I was weaned on a steady diet of sci fi and fantasy stories from an early age.

I write because it’s one of the things I am fairly decent at doing too.

I am also not the only writer who sometimes feels that my writing detracts from my home life and from my job earnings. And I am not the only one who sometimes feels like an imposter.

It’s an insidious thing – that little critic in the back of your head that tells you you’re just not good enough. That you will never find success. That you should just lay down and stop trying.

RuPaul’s Drag Race had a great episode last week where the queens dressed as both themselves and their inner critic personified, and the inner critic said all the horrible things to them that they often thought, deep inside. It was a cathartic experience for many of the queens.

So in that spirit, I’m unleashing my own inner critic. Do your worst:

  • You’re a hack.
  • You don’t know what you doing.
  • Your writing is derivative and unoriginal.
  • Your characters are two dimensional.
  • You suck at marketing.
  • You’re a fake and everyone knows it.
  • People only say nice things about your work because they want you to help them promote theirs.
  • You’re an utter failure as a writer.

*whew* Damn, those hurt. Some more than others.

To my inner critic, I say “fuck you.”

You know what? I do know what I am doing. I love my work. Maybe there are no new stories under the sun, but I take what I’m given and make it magical in my own way. I’m pretty damned bad-ass at marketing, and just ’cause it doesn’t always work, it’s not because I didn’t do an awesome job. People love my work, and they also often help me because I help them. That’s how good people operate in this world, present government notwithstanding. And the minute I touched someone with one of my stories, I became a success as a writer.

So yeah. Fuck you.

Maybe I’ll never see Steven King levels of success. Maybe I’ll never sell 1,000 copies of a book. Maybe when I’m gone, everyone will forget I was even here.

But I am a success.

So… what lies does your inner critic tell you? Spell ’em out for us, and tell them to take it to where the sun don’t shine.

 

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