An Appeal for Carol, Deserted By Her Inner Critic

I’d like you to imagine some tinkly, sentimental music playing as you read this.  Sad-faced children looking entreatingly into your eyes. Perhaps a kitten.

The camera pans to a small desk at a window.  A girl – alright, a woman fast approaching middle age – is sat, chin resting in her hands, staring out at the garden.  (There was a tree there until yesterday, but that’s another story.)  In front of her is a pile of typed pages, a little creased and dog-eared now.  The margins are filled with scribbles, crossed out and replaced with others, now almost illegible.  The woman twists and turns a biro between the fingers of her right hand, clicking the top so that the nib pops in and out.

Only you can help Tiddles smile again.

Carol’s cat: only you can help Tiddles smile again.

Voice over:

A long time ago, Carol – not her real name – dreamed of writing a book. 

She wrote first chapters – lots of them. But she could never get any further.

You see, Carol couldn’t silence her Inner Critic; the voice that told her everything she’d put on paper just wasn’t good enough. The voice that told her she was wasting her time. 

Then, one day, Carol decided she wasn’t going to live like that any more.  With your help, she locked up her Inner Critic.  She made herself develop a plot and characters.  She gave herself word count targets.

Carol finished her first draft. She thought she’d succeeded.  But the story doesn’t end there.

Now she must edit her work.  But Carol’s Inner Critic is sulking and refusing to help. Carol can’t decide what’s good and what isn’t.  Is she improving her writing, or just tinkering pointlessly?

[Music rises to a crescendo]

That’s why Carol needs your help again. 

For just one pound a month – I mean, with just one comment on this blog – you can help Carol know that she’s not alone.

Your editing stories can make a difference.  Please, post a reply and share them with us today.

Please.  For Carol’s sake.

 

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2 thoughts on “An Appeal for Carol, Deserted By Her Inner Critic

  1. RW

    I’m not sure if this will help at all but here is a first-draft of a comment… I sometimes think about the editing process as “weaving straw into gold”. In my own experience the nature of first drafts is that they will inevitably – almost by definition – be a mixture of good and bad, and that’s absolutely fine because there’s nothing that can’t be fixed at a later stage. I’m not sure I ever locked up my inner critic away so much as asked him to leave the room for a while so that I could do what I needed to do to finish the first draft. However at the second draft stage I’ve found it helpful to have the voice of an impatient reader there pushing me to cut out extraneous words and reshape ambiguous or ugly phrases. The second (perhaps more fun) job is to sift through the straw looking for the flashes of gold which you can celebrate and try to draw out further. Then there’s always Orwell’s rules as a handy additional checklist/code to live your entire life by… https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

    Reply
    1. yakinamac Post author

      Hi Richard – and thank you so much for visiting! Hope you and yours are all well. This is all incredibly helpful stuff. I’ve added your link to my favourites – I think I might be turning to it more than once in the future!

      Reply

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