Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Note on The Inner Critic

I think every writer, illustrator, and artist struggles with the voice of the inner critic. We smash our ideas before they are even on paper. We are more critical than any editor, and we beat our inner child until he is weeping in despair.

Statler and Waldorf, Jim Henson's toughest critics.
There is a time and place for self-criticism.
It isn't during PiBoIdMo. 

Maybe you've been lamenting your less-than-Newberry efforts so far. Here is some advice* from those who've been there, gleaned from last year's Picture Book Idea Month posts.

"Gag your inner critic! . . . stop perfectionizing! . . . Write down ALL the ideas you consider. You don’t know what will piggyback on them or what new variation will emerge." -Deb Lund

"I try not to reject . . . ideas too early, because there is no telling where they will end up." -Peter Harren

"I allowed myself to indulge in my imaginative whims.  . . . This was new. The feeling of having nothing to lose, so why not? I was no longer thinking about what I thought the publishing industry wanted to see. I was drawing what I wanted to see for myself." -Kelly Light 

"There's a fine line between a crazy, out-there idea, and a really brilliant one." -Aaron Reynolds

If you are still struggling, read the posts below in their entirety and repeat after me,

"I will not allow my inner critic to shout too loudly or too often."

Why not share your thoughts here, or on the PiBoIdMo Facebook group. Sometimes stating the fear out loud puts it in perspective. Happy brainstorming!

You can see last week's Quips and Tips post on Crazy story ideas here.
*You can read the original posts on Writing With Kids (While Raising Them): Aaron Reynolds, Deb LundKelly LightPeter Harren


  1. All good advice… even if it did come accompanying the two grouchiest critics on the Muppet Show!

    1. Thanks, Juliana. That's my new strategy. If I change the voices in my head to sound like these guys, I can laugh at their comments instead of becoming paralyzed by them :)

  2. Joanne, thanks for the reminders from last year's posts. Such great pieces of encouragement to keep in mind on the tough days! :)

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I hope your month is going well. I've been productive, but still running behind!


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.