Yesterday evening, just as I was getting ready to leave work, my head began to hurt. Nothing too bad, just one of those headaches that’s not quite a full-on headache…more annoying than anything else. So I figured that I would go home, eat dinner and then write. But those plans changed. I don’t know if it was being out in the 30° night air after having been in dry heated air all day or what but my nuisance headache started building as I drove home. By the time I got to the house, fed my strays/ferals, and got inside, it had reached its zenith. I took some Aleve with the hope of salvaging my writing time then ate dinner. By the time I finished eating, it was obvious that the headache had dug in and wasn’t going to magically go away. I still took out a notebook and pen and tried to write something but wrote only a few lines before just giving up because my eyes didn’t want to focus. I was angry with myself because I had set my goals and here I was, 3 days in and I wasn’t writing or even working on my planner so that I had a blueprint for those goals. I sat there and just felt defeated. I kept thinking that I was going to waste this year like I’d wasted the last 10 years…making plans and not following through with them. I felt like a failure. I sat there like that for about 30 minutes until I realized that all the failure talk was coming from my overactive Inner Critic that just lies in wait for anything that it can glom onto and then beats me down with it. My Inner Critic’s one and only job is to make sure that I fail. It finds an area where I’m vulnerable and it just hammers away at it until I either let it win or I stand up to it and tell it to shut the hell up. I’ve spent the last 10 years letting it win more times than not, letting it convince me that I am a failure, and then failing. But over the last 6 months, I have been fighting back and making real progress so my Inner Critic had to up its game. There was nothing I could do about last night nor does one night make me a failure or negate all of the progress that I’ve made or that I am going to continue to make this year. If I let my IC win even one battle, my odds of reverting back to the “I am a failure” mode increase. So I have to dig in and stand my ground. The biggest battle that we, as creatives, fight is within ourselves. We let our IC and self-doubt get the best of us and we let ourselves believe things that really are not true. Some people have a fear of failing while others have a fear of succeeding. Both of those fears come from the same place…our Inner Critic. We have to pay a lot more attention to our Inner Wise Self and a lot less to our Inner Critic. It’s like those old cartoons where the devil is on one shoulder telling the person what to do and the angel is on the other shoulder trying to convince them to do the right thing. It’s time to start listening to the angel. It’s time to take the Inner Critic’s power away from it. It’s time to succeed. Listen to your angel.
“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.” ~ David Eddings