After Yesterday’s Post…
I got a couple of questions about how I control my critical voice when I do so much teaching, which is automatically generated from critical voice.
A couple things first. If I ever stopped writing for anything past a short life roll, I would stop teaching at that same moment. Sadly, a couple of my mentors became nothing but teachers and never really wrote again. I lost respect for them, to be honest.
Second, I do the teaching to keep learning. When a workshop becomes boring to me, and I can’t learn from it, it goes to classic status or vanishes. Why Kris and I are always starting so many new things. We are learning.
But all that said, how do I control the critical voice that the learning automatically brings in for most people?
It actually boils down to one simple thing… I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. Or of my writing, or methods of writing.
I just flat don’t care.
I have been doing this for over 40 years now and am glad to pass on my learning and observations. But I don’t do it to sell books or make fans or anything silly like that. I do it because major writers helped me when I was starting off and I want to pay that forward.
It is why I am doing the mentoring (even though two spots remain open), I just sort of formally want to be there to help if I can.
Same with these year-long topic workshops. I want to learn those topics. Those workshops will vanish at the end of their time. (Shared World and Licensing Transition…. because I will have learned from them what I needed at this moment.)
But when I sit down to write, I am telling myself a story and nothing more. If it doesn’t sell, I flat don’t care.
If it does sell, I flat don’t care.
If someone hates the story or me, I flat don’t care.
And an interesting thing about not caring, when a person is trying to get attention from me by badmouthing me, they tend to fade away quickly because, as I said, I flat don’t care.
I do the best I can with every story I write. That’s all I can do. Nothing more, nothing less.
And if I allowed critical voice to ever be around, writing would be no fun, so I just don’t.
One thing so many writers forget: This is entertainment. No one dies if a story doesn’t work or there is bad grammar on page seven. It’s entertainment and no one really cares.
You see, critical voice can only come in when you care about something. If you are just playing, having fun, telling a story for just yourself, there is nothing a critical voice can protect you from, so it goes away.
So my critical voice helps other writers learn. But since I don’t care about any results of my own writing one way or another, critical voice vanishes when it comes to my writing.
So all my solutions to those ugly problems that I wrote about yesterday always boil down to one thing. The writers who have those problems care. They forget that fiction writing is just entertainment.
And the critical voice knows that they have forgotten and thus makes it impossible for those infected writers to write.
That is why I am constantly repeating to go have fun with your writing. Having fun flat shuts down critical voice.
So when you shut down critical voice, you finish things, enjoy the process, and move forward all at the same time. Total win.
Just weird how that works.