1. Turns out you can eat too many sugar cookies.
2. Writing sucks. Here’s why: Somewhere between inspiration and completion lies a battle zone, where muse and inner critic wage war. And here’s a glimpse of what it looks like at my place:
She made a disgusted noise—you know the one that starts with a ‘t’ sound and ends with an exasperated sigh. “You aren’t really going to do that, are you? End a scene like that?”
“Um. Sort of?” I say. I realize how lame it sounds. End every scene on an emotional shift. End every scene on an emotional shift. If she’s told me once, she’s told me a thousand times.
“I heard that,” she says.
“‘Told me once, told me a thousand times.’ What did I tell you about clichés?”
“Hmph.” She bends forward, rests a manicured hand on my desktop and adjusts her glasses with the other. She peers closely at the screen and then turns to me, incredulous. “Did you just use an adverb?”
I did. I totally used an adverb. I was in a hurry. I thought it sounded okay. I didn’t think anyone would get hurt. Oh god. There’s just no excuse. Not when SHE’S around.
SHE is inner critic, editor in chief and nothing satisfies her. She’s tall, effortlessly thin. You know the type: power suit, lip-liner and those shoes with the red soles—the-I-can’t-remember-the-name-of-thems.
“Louboutins,” she says with a perfect French accent.
“The shoes. They’re Louboutins.”
“Wouldn’t kill you to do some research now and then, you know.”
I try to catch the Beast’s eye, but he’s reclining on the other side of my desk, feet up, examining what appears to be a booger at the tip of one filthy finger.
She clears her throat and taps one crimson nail on my monitor. “Are you with me, Karen?”
“Then fix this,” she hisses, her finger underscoring the adverb.
She pulls back. “Oh my God. Did you just attribute my dialogue?”
She throws her arms up and storms for the door, pausing long enough to mutter to the Beast before she leaves: “I can’t work with her. She’s hopeless. Don’t waste your time.”
The Beast does nothing. The door slams and I spend a few moments staring at my hands lying limp on the keyboard.
Finally, I look up and try to snag his eye. “That’s good, right? We can finally get some work done.”
He leans forward and wipes the booger on the underside of my desk. “Maybe,” he says. “If you’d get your ass off that blog.”
Here’s hoping you win your creative battles today.
So who is the guy that tells me all the things I write are good, who cheers me on, who stands next to me when I read over it right after I write it and pats me on the back and whispers “good job?” And then comes in when I’m not there and changes it all around so it totally SUCKS so when I read it I feel torn between shame and embarrassment?
I think it’s the same guy who writes all my work emails and Facebook posts.
Yeah, I don’t know who he is, but I know the guy you’re talking about. He wrote my Personal Growth Plan for work and when my boss reads it, I’m fired.
Love it, Karen. You capture the conflict perfectly. Fortunately, your inner critic is driving you to become a fabulous writer.
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If she ever does I’m afraid she has her work cut out for her. I’m glad you liked it 🙂