If you’ve noticed I spend a lot of time talking about handling writerly fear, it’s because at heart I’m a big chicken. The past few days have been no exception. (Buck-buck-buuuuuck.) In fact, all week I’ve felt the Internal Editor’s breath on the nape of my neck, danced one step ahead of his grasping, bony fingers.
Fortunately, I’m not without my resources.
Would you like to play a game that helps me? One forged in the gallows humor of medicine and honed in the bedrooms of my children? (Yes, my poor, psychologically damaged children who presently huddle outside the office door, wondering why supper’s not made and their mother cackles within.)
The rules are thus: Take your insecurities about your writing and exaggerate them to ludicrous proportions. Write them out as if they were reader reviews. When you do, one of two things will occur:
- You’ll laugh and regain a sense of perspective, or
- You’ll work your adrenal glands to exhaustion. Then, when asked to pump out another molecule of stress hormones, they will gasp, wheeze, and wave you forward on the writing path – alone.
Either way, you’ll return to the blank page with an easier mind.
To illustrate how it works, here are some of my own fears after vigorous Crit Eeking:
I laughed at the title, was intrigued by the premise, but the content made me sob like a baby with excoriated diaper rash after a meal of jalapeños. No, Ms. O’Hara, no. Words like “wolverine” and “trouser snake” do not belong in the same sentence. Not in a tender love scene featuring a virgin’s deflowering.
I approached this book with scepticism because I don’t usually read this genre. Boy, would running have been a mistake. Funny, sexy, incandescent… This author is a fresh new voice in the literary world.
~author of Snow for Christmas: How Cocaine Freed Me from the Tyranny of a Steady Paycheck and Allowed Me to Meet Sweetlips
Hands down the best book I’ve read in a long time – if you’re looking for proof of why the traditional publishing model is doomed.
I-I have never done this before… I’m not sure I have the words… I was asked to blurb this book by my sister, who’s the author’s good friend and confidant. Needless to say, I had to refuse.
I hope you’re happy, Ms. O’Hara! Now my children will grow up without knowing their cousins. As for my sister, you took a sweet, generous woman and taught her to speak fluent forked tongue – your first and only demonstration of facility with language.
Best book I consumed in a long time. Delicious cover art. Sturdy characters. After me and the young ‘uns done slept on it some, we moved the pages to the corner privy where they served as an absorbing read.
~Abigail Ro Dent, author of Best of Modern Litter-ature
How about you? Care to play with a Crit Eek of your own? Alternatively, have any other suggestions about how to invite humor and playfulness into the Internal Editor’s traditional domain?