This week’s topic is “The Care and Feeding of Our Inner Critics.” And let me tell you, my inner critic does not need to be fed. She is a gluttonous, double-chinned nun, a specter of my Catholic School days. Her black habit flows straight down from her ample chest. You can’t tell what’s all underneath there, but you don’t want to know anyway.
I’ll tell you what’s keeping her plump, though. It’s the chatter that bounces around in my brain, sometimes quiet and sometimes loud, but never, never ceasing. She feeds off my stores of self-doubt, and she’s always hungry for more.
When I sit down to write, she shakes her head. “You really think you can do this again? Remember how hard that last book was to write? I don’t think you can do it again. Or, at least, not as well.”
When I go to bed, her voice echoes in my head, scrutinizing my day and what I could have done better. “You should have written more words today. Not gotten short with your son when he splashed in the dog’s water bowl AGAIN. You should have checked more things off your to-do list at the office today. Tsk tsk.”
She’s loud and opinionated and judgmental and sometimes deluded, my inner critic. But she’s not all bad. She forces me to read my manuscripts just one more time, to catch those last few typos. Her fear-mongering, never-quit attitude helped me study for the LSAT, pass the bar exam, make it to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass on the Inca Trail, and birth my son.
She can be very helpful sometimes, my inner critic. But I really do wish she’d take a vow of silence now and then.