A conversation with the inner critic


“No one is going to want to read this.”

The voice sounds a lot like me. Like a phone call in an old horror story, it’s coming from inside. Inside my brain, in this case. Unlike the frightened protagonist of that old campfire story, though, I can’t exactly run away from it. Every time I sit down to write anything more demanding than a grocery list, this jackass starts running his mouth. That’s his go-to line up there.

So I tell him, “Pipe down. I don’t have to listen to you.”

“You should. I’m the one who keeps you from making a fool of yourself. Which is what will happen if you publish this.”

I shake my head. This guy. I’ve never seen him, of course. He sits behind my eyes, over on the left side of the brain. That’s not a right-brain/left-brain metaphor. It’s literally the side I hear him on.

“How am I going to make a fool of myself if no one wants to read it? I mean, if no one reads it, what does it matter?”

“It’s not going to be any good.”

That’s the runner up in the Inner Critic’s top ten list. Variations: It will suck, it will be lame, it’s stupid.

“I don’t care if it’s any good. Success is 250 words or more. I’ve only got a handful left and then I’m done.”

“It’s just self-indulgent twaddle.”

“Maybe, but it’s done.”

(Photo by Christian Newman on Unsplash)