So this blog post is part of a commitment I have made to myself to start having better habits… One of the habits I want to get into is to be sure of writing at least 500 words a day. Now I sometimes write more than that and I normally write something every day… but I am not pushing myself nearly as hard as I should be and quite often I write very little.
I recently started using an App/Website called Lift, and indeed I referred to it in my blog post yesterday when I first mentioned this idea of writing 500 words a day. One of the groups I saw on there was a 500 word a day challenge…
And this is the first prompt for my first 500 words:
“Anne Lamott, one of my favorite authors, once said the following about writing: “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
The goal of this challenge – officially beginning on Monday – is to learn to trust the process enough to write that shitty first draft. Let’s start out by doing this: write a letter to your inner critic, and let them know they are fired. Done. Tell that critic to pack up a box of their stuff and get out. Take the weekend to think this prompt over; good ideas should marinate!”
And here is my letter to my critic:
I had to look you up in the dictionary… I wanted a really accurate definition of what you were.
To be honest I couldn’t make up my mind whether a critic was a good thing or a bad thing.
Do you know what you mean, exactly?
This is what Merriam-Webster has to say:
1a : one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique
b : one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances
2 : one given to harsh or captious judgment
I am not totally sure whether you criticise me too much, or not enough… certainly I don’t think your criticism has ever been particularly reasoned.
To be honest I wouldn’t mind more of a rational critic, I suspect you might help me make better decisions.
Let’s just take a look at some of the criticism you have given me in the past… And since this is something I am really working on at the moment, let’s take a look at my weight. Since last September I have gone from being morbidly obese to being just overweight. In a couple more months I will be comfortably in the right weight for my height.
Now how much of that is down to you?
I am not sure any of it is… I think that the kind of criticism you used to give me was rather whiny and just a bit hopeless.
You used to whine at me: “Oh, You’re so fat…”
And then nothing… You just left me feeling fat… and then I did nothing about it.
A critic is meant to be a source of good, to help us improve… In the end I had to take control of the situation myself and get off my fat ass and go and do something about it…
I’m not there yet, although as mentioned I soon will be. As an aside I have also gone from being very unfit to being in not far off the best physical condition of my life.
I can be very proud of that, and sadly none of that has to do with you.
As I have grown older one of the things I have learnt to appreciate is valid criticism… whether it is of my copy or of my business plan, criticism definitely has it’s place.
Sadly though, my inner critic, you are not the one to give it to me, and so as Alan Sugar (Donald Trump for any American readers), you’re fired! I am looking for a new apprentice… one with better judgement and a stronger sense of reason.
There is a lot that needs to happen in my life in the coming months, and I need a critic who can stand up for what is right with me, and let me know what is wrong…
We need to pull together and ensure that the rest of this year and indeed the rest of my life is as good as it can be.
I look forward to moving forward without you being a rather whiny voice playing in my head.
All the best,