Life, Writing Process

My Critical Self’s Worst Nightmare

The one thing that every author warns about trying to get published is that you shouldn’t be in it for the money. Why? Because there is no guarantee that your book will sell well. Whether it’s because of trends, audience, genre, etc, there are so many things that come into play for how well your book will do. Creating any type of art is one of the most risky career choices out there, but in my opinion also one of the most inspiring. But that means there’s no guarantee you’ll have any type of payout for the work you put in.

This is my critical self’s worst nightmare, or maybe its favorite fuel.

My critical self is uninterested in doing things that aren’t bringing some type of monetary value or assisting my “adult” life in some way. So the idea that I am working toward something that a) is keeping me from other potential responsibilities and b) might not even make me money doesn’t really sit well with that part of my self.

“Spend potentially years creating something that might not even earn enough money to be considered worth the hours? Are you stupid?” Critic asks.

Then Critic continues to explain that there’s no way I’ll be motivated enough to put in the work to produce the amount of writing necessary to be able to sustain myself on my fiction only. Even though, Critic is what is keeping me away from my motivation by telling me these things!

So, what do I do to get my motivation back?

Well, I do the things that I learned from the courses I’ve been taking. I break down the arguments and turn them against the Critic.

First, the Critic is very wrong about me needing to earn money off of my creative writing. I already have a day job that is based off of writing, which makes me so happy to say! Which means that me pursuing more writing is not going to put me behind on anything monetarily, because I’ve got a job that’s challenging and let’s me use writing on a daily basis. Really, it can only push me further on my journey by improving my skills, getting my work out there, and pushing my courage further than ever to experiment with my creativity.

I’m already earning money, so writing is not going to set me back. We can move on from that one, Critic.

Second, taking 30 minutes to an hour for creative writing is not going to take away any real amount of time for me to get other responsibilities done in the long run. Dishes, vacuuming, and answering emails or texts will be there when I’m done. Those things will not be negatively impacted by another hour just chilling out in the state they’re in. I’m a happier and more fulfilled person when I’m writing creatively and telling stories. This isn’t really about a hobby versus chores. This is about something that’s good for me versus other things that are good for me. They can’t rightfully be compared.

Writing is good for me, Critic. If I’m worried about other stuff getting done, I can always ask for help (yikes) or just do that stuff when I’m done in 30 minutes.

Third, I want to write. I go on and on about “I should write tonight” or “I should really get this chapter done.” But in the end, I really really want to write. At the very least I want to have written. I want the story I’m writing to be told. I want people to read it when I’m done. I want people to enjoy it the way I’m enjoying it in my mind. Even if that is all purely selfish, I’m totally fine with that if it’s a type of motivation pushing me to get to the end of my book.

I want somebody to hold the finished book in their hands and say they enjoyed it sincerely.

I want somebody to hold this as a real book. I want somebody to love this book like I do.

As much as it thinks it is, the critic is not in control

Critic can try to talk me out of writing and say that nobody will enjoy it. But honestly, if I’m enjoying it, somebody else out there will too. It’s good for me, and is something I’m doing for me. It’s an endeavor I don’t have to worry about making me money while I’ve got a day job.

My critical self is no longer in control here. It’s time I stop listening, and start writing.

Do you have any key arguments against your inner critic’s biggest fuel? Anything else I can tell my critic to get it to stop using money and responsibilities against me? Have you taken at least 5 minutes today to work on your creative writing today?

Happy Writing!


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