Join Prism Book Alliance® as Lisa Henry goes Outside the Margins today.
Being a writer is a lot of things, both fun and terrifying.
Today I finally sent off a novel to my awesome beta readers, and I’m celebrating with wine, even though this is nowhere near the final step in the process. But, until publication, it feels like the one most celebrating. The things that come next–the rewrites and the edits and the endless tweaking–are my least favourite part, even though they’re the most important. So I’m celebrating while I have the chance.
I love writing, but I think with any creative process there’s a very thin line between feeling productive and feeling like a complete and utter failure. And that line gets crossed a hundred times a day with each project.
It all comes down to our inner critic. If yours is like mine, she’s less like an critic and more like some sort of nightmarish monster out to destroy your life, by systematically shredding your self-esteem one tiny bit at a time. There’s a time when you need her, and a time when you’d better strangle that bitch to shut her up. And when it comes to actually getting words on the paper, that’s exactly when you don’t need her.
Your inner critic (or mine, anyway) is the voice in the back of your head that tells you things like:
Wow. This is awful. This is probably the worst thing you’ve ever written.
You should probably stop writing now. And forever.
You’re not really very good at this.
Instead of working on this, why don’t you look up job ads online? Because you’re kidding yourself when you call yourself an author
In the push and pull of the writing process, your inner critic is a menace. Do not listen to her. Do not let her look at your novel until your beta readers have gone over it first. She has no business getting involved before then.
Don’t get me wrong. Your beta readers are not your cheer squad. They’re not there to stroke your ego. But here’s the big secret: your story is probably a lot better than your internal editor thinks it is, and your beta readers will likely tell you that. And that will be incredibly valuable to you when it comes to letting your inner critic out to do her actual job: editing. Because that’s when she’s useful, and only then. Because she’s a nitpicker. She looks for flaws and weak points. She points out dumb mistakes and laughs at you for them.
For me, the editing process is incredibly frustrating. It’s because I am a pantser, not a plotter. I get to do all the heavy lifting during the editing process. I’d love to be more of a plotter, but I’m just not wired that way. That’s another big secret: there’s no way to write a novel except whatever way works for you.
So tonight I’m having that wine, and ignoring that voice in the back of my head that tells me this is probably the worst thing any persons has ever written in the entire history of the universe, and I’m going to feel good about it instead.
And, if that doesn’t work, I’m going to think about my ten-year-old nephew and how excited he was to tell me that he was writing a book, and how I told him how proud I am and that I’m sure it will be amazing. And if I can tell that to Tom, then I’m going to tell it to myself as well.
About Lisa HenryLisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
- Blog: lisahenryonline.blogspot.com
- Twitter: @lisahenryonline
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/LisaHenry
- Website: lisahenryonline.com
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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