A dialogue with my inner critic

We all have inner critics. Some manage them better than others do. All too often, I tremble under the tyranny of mine. She’s not cute and harmless. Not at all. Think She Devil, like this:

I’ll give you an example of how she works. A writer friend emailed me the other day to ask if I’d considered offering editing services to increase my income. She said, “Your writing is so precise and careful.” and indicated she felt I could be of benefit to other writers. All well and good, right?

The next day, while doing some mind-numbing work, I thought about the email again. Suddenly, my inner critic offered a different interpretation.

Inner Critic: Precise and careful, huh?

Me: Yeah, so?

Inner Critic: Sounds to me like she thinks your writing is a bore.

Me: No … I don’t think so.

Inner Critic: Textbooks are precise and careful.

Me: But … I’m pretty sure she meant that as a compliment.

Inner Critic: Ha!

Me: What did she mean, then?

Inner Critic: There’s an old saying: Those who can, write; those who can’t, edit.

In typical She Devil fashion, she poofed away, her cackle echoing in her wake, leaving me to question my worth as a writer … or an editor. She’s pure evil, is my inner critic. Next time she pops in, I’ll slap her with a wet fish.

24 thoughts on “A dialogue with my inner critic

  1. I recommend you fire the b….! You already know what I think of your writing, but I think you would also be an excellent editor and that might bring some income. Come on! You have to know how to write well in order to edit well. Your inner critic is just a mean-spirited you know what.


  2. Well done Linda. We all go through those moments every now and then. The problem? It paralyzes us.

    I have been wanting to get into editing for the longest of times, but the little devil has been getting in the way. I totally agree with Christa. Fire the b…h! “Feel the fear… and do it anyway!”


  3. She definetly needs to be slapped and put in her place. Once you have dealt with your she devil, come over and deal with mine. BTW anything of yours that I have read has not been boring.


  4. I think your inner critic is twins with mine. I teach courses on positive thinking, self confidence building etc etc and still have this witch inside me that doubts what I can do. So toss her out, slam and lock the door and change the locks. You are a great writer and would be an enormous help to others if you decide to take up editing. Good luck.


  5. Make it a very BIG wet fish!

    We all seem to have that inner critic, and she likes to sneak up at the most inopportune times. I dream of a time when she’ll either change her nasty ways or else dissolve into oblivion, finally getting the hint that she’s not wanted. Linda, I’ve started to take the attitude that when opportunities present themselves to me I’ll at least explore the possibilities, unless it’s something just too far fetched like sky-diving or bungee jumping. 🙂


    1. BIG west fish, got it! 🙂 I should probably adapt more of your attitude, Laura. Not that many opportunities actually present themselves to ME, but I tend to dismiss some ideas with a quick, “I can’t do that.” Or maybe that’s my inner critic again. Hmmm …


  6. Your train of thought sounds just like mine! Although recently I had someone tell me the editing in my book was completely awful, but it wasn’t my fault, it was my editor’s. I didn’t take that very well. Needless to say, it sparked quite the interesting discussion and did end well, for the most part. Still, it spurred on a conversation inside myself that required some wet fish…


    1. Are you talking about Monarch, Michelle? If so, I must have read a different version than your critic!

      I got an email from someone like that a few months ago, giving me a whole lecture on the use of contractions. This was after the person read only the preview first chapter of Brevity and totally overlooked that there might be a REASON why Jalal doesn’t use contractions in his speech.


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