Sunday, January 22, 2012


Have you ever wondered what you could accomplish if you didn’t have any negative thoughts in your head? You know what I’m talking about, that inner voice that asks “Why do you think you can write?” “Why are you wasting your time writing bad prose, when you should be doing something more productive?” “Who told you you’re a writer?”

I have an inner critic that I try not to listen to, but sometimes I can’t help it. I get caught up in everything I’m not, and she finds out and moves in for a while to lead the parade of negativity.

I have good news, though. There’s a way to lessen her impact. Step one to banishing your inner critic is to name it. I’ve decided to name mine “Lucille.” Lucille often tells me that what I’ve written isn’t quite good enough. She thinks I ought to be doing the laundry and cleaning the bathrooms instead of working on character development. Lucille isn’t a fan of anything that’s new and different. She thinks my writing should sound like everyone else’s.

Now that I’ve named her, I can see her. She is an older woman wearing a floral dress that is tragically out of date, along with pink ankle socks under black sandals with thick straps. She sometimes forgets to take the curlers out of her dyed-black hair before she goes outside, and drinks generic cola while watching reruns of game shows. Her too-dark lipstick is usually smeared around the outside of her lips from the cigarettes she smokes while trying to figure out the puzzles from “Wheel of Fortune.”

She’s a mess, so I’m not going to listen to her anymore.

Does anyone else have an inner critic? Tell me about your “Lucille.”

Write soon,



  1. Oh, what a creative way to handle that inner critic! I never thought of her this way...might have to give her a try. She does bug me something fierce!

  2. Hi Mary,
    Funny and creative!
    Send Lucille packing.

  3. Mary--
    I've done an exercise similar to this. I was instructed to write to this critic, and share what was going on with a particular writing it was going, what my plans were in the future, what problems I was having. The writers were told to envision what they looked like, where they were sitting, and so on. I thought it was a silly idea, but it proved quite effective. Some things came to the surface which I was completely unaware of.

    Great post.

  4. This is an effective tool, but I must admit, Lucille sounds a lot like my former mother-in-law. You knew her? :)

  5. I read somewhere that if you name your fear (or critic), then you can eliminate it. So I thought I'd try, and it worked! Thanks for you kind comments, and by the way, any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental! Although I do think Lucille has some universal traits that we've all encountered!

  6. I guess I must have named my inner critic years ago. I never thought of it that way, though. I have dyslexia. When I start thinking negative, I always thought that's the cause. Now I know other writers do the same thing. I think I'll slap the name Mergatroid on my inner critic! Thanks for a great article.