The public eye can be a very scary place. Just ask actors, musicians, singers and authors, just to name a few. Criticisms run rampant. You’re too fat, too tall, too boring, too skinny, too nasty, too quirky, too eccentric , too inaccessible. Yes, yes, poor us, right?
But remember that even as a person who is not in the public eye, you are still subject to critique, from bosses, family, friends and media. Every commercial is designed to sell something, and in order to get you to purchase the product, they first have to let you know that you have a problem that only their product can solve. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Too fat? Get a weight loss pill. Eyelashes too short? Get this mascara. Pores too large? Buy this facial toner. Too wrinkly? Buy this makeup, plus this cream, plus this treatment masque. Don’t you feel and look better already?
Writers have it the same way, only worse in some ways. As a woman, I am already too fat, too wrinkly, boobs too big, boobs too small, skin too dark, skin too light, teeth too yellow, lips too thin, lips too big, feet too big, feet too small, not enough jewelry, not organized enough, not pretty, too pretty, clothes not fresh enough, too many children, not enough children, no children, itchy crotch, smelly crotch.
I’m not telling you anything you haven’t seen on a commercial at one time or another.
As a writer? Well, let me list the ways: books too short, books too long, heroine too slutty, heroine too bitchy, stupid plot, not ‘multicultural’ enough, too ‘multicultural’, boring hero, heroine doesn’t act like I would act, far-fetched, “why is the hero this ethnicity”, too white-washed, not deep enough, too deep…
And that’s just the criticisms I’ve received as a writer. If I took the criticisms of the authors of just two other authors on this lovely blog, I’d have a complete blog post.
Stuff all that nonsense in the trash. Silence the outer critic.
Please note, I am NOT talking about criticisms that come from a place of love and caring. Consider the critic before you dismiss or condemn.
In order to silence the outer critic, you must silence the inner critic. It’s a judge, stealing you of your goodness and light.
Three ways I do it. Take notes, there will be a test and that test is life.
1. Stay positive- Monitor your thoughts – Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative if it doesn’t help you improve. Huffing and puffing climbing the stairs? You need to take off a few pounds. Now, if you’re festively plump and you can climb those steps like a champ, shimmy that size 18 bootie and tell Judgy Jane or Jimmy to suck it.
2. Stay Powerful – You CAN do this – Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. And if you can’t do it, seek assistance. Don’t be afraid to reach out. And remember, life is a journey. What you can’t today, strive to do tomorrow.
3. Stop swimming in past failures – Clear your mind of the negative. Maybe that last character you wrote was a little flat. Liven him up the next time. Kitchen not clean? Make a plan to clean it, don’t worry that dishes were left in the sink overnight. Focus on the future, not the past.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ~William Shakespeare
Be fearless. Keep your head up. Be fierce. Go forth and conquer.
Dahlia, who the day after Halloween feels like that broken blossom on the floor of the garden center.