It is about conversations with my inner critic.
I have been silent for a few days because I was up to something.
From Friday, my city is in lockdown for the first time in 2021. It is the strictest one this time, which means no gym, no yoga session, or unexpected family and friends’ visits. One week of full ownership of my time.
That is when the idea popped into my head.
Why not this week to write the next book?
Some of you already know that I wrote a book in a week in June.
Despite my good intentions, I couldn’t repeat the performance in July.
But this month, there is this great opportunity. So I spent Friday clearing my usual tasks, writing the weekly newsletter, writing the travel article, submitting it to World Travelers Blog, and getting ready to start the book on Monday.
The story behind my second book.
In July, when I was trying to write my second book, 22,000 words into it, I threw my hands in the air.
It was rubbish.
All of it.
The book was about my story of moving from a competitive to a creative life. It was supposed to be inspirational and entertaining, yet it sounded boring and clichéd.
It was not the first time I was writing this book. I made the first attempt at writing this story in 2019. But couldn’t pull it through.
Then again, in 2020. This time I finished a version of it. I even got it edited and was about to self-publish it, but it didn’t go ahead.
My inner critic stopped me.
And it was stopping again, this time.
And the truth is, ‘he’ is right. (I have always perceived my inner critic as a male. It pops up like Jack In The Box. I have even started calling it Jack).
Jack has been right several times. He keeps me in line. He protects me from making a fool of myself. He is annoying, restraining, and cruel but has my best interest in his heart.
When I struggled to write the book in July, Jack said, “Just dump it.”
He and I had had many conversations in the past. I knew his tactics. I wasn’t going to give in that easily.
“No way. I need to tell this story. It is too important to dismiss. It is my story, after all. I can’t let it get lost in the oblivion.”
“It sounds ridiculous. You call it inspirational. I bet even you can’t read it. Admit it.”
“Oh! Go away. That is why I wrote my last book in one week so that you don’t get a chance to talk me out of it.”
“Yeah! that is why there are so many mistakes in it. Had you giving me a chance, I would have helped you make it a much better book.” Jack had gotten out of the box and sat on the bathroom benchtop where I washed my hands.
“What! now you want to get involved with writing books as well?”
He looked at the ceiling and swayed on his spring torso without saying anything.
“That is why you are visiting me? You want me to feature you in this book.” I exclaimed incredulously.
“You are smarter than I think.” he winked. “See you later!” Then, before I could blink, he jumped into the box and disappeared.
I have two choices now. Ignore him again or rewrite featuring him in the book.
If I do, the book will recount the conversations we had in the past three years. I will still be telling my story and my insights, but I will be using many fictional elements. So rather than being an inspirational book, it might turn out to be a witty memoir.
I asked my readers whether they would like to read conversations between my inner critic and me.
I told myself even if one person comes back and says they would like to read the book, I will write it.
Several readers came back and said they would love to read the book.
One reader wrote back saying she too has Jack in her head.
“I struggled for years making music with a good jack and a bad jack dialoguing and fighting in my head, sometimes I shouted at them to stop and let me play, but they took the stage again. The bad one was straight, telling me what was rubbish, but the “good” one was actually worse, he was mean: as he was complimenting me just to tell me: you won’t think you can do it again, uh? You cannot get along so good, you’ll soon make a mistake… So, I’d love to read your dialogues with jack, especially now that you made such a good cartoon portrait of him!” — DG
So I am writing the book for my readers.
Rules are a bit different this time.
I will write the book in ten days rather than one week, and I will take the weekend off in between.
I will not write a daily progress report but will definitely write at least four articles to share my struggles with all honesty. I think we learn more when we hear about other people’s failures along with success.
I am aiming for the book to be 10,000 to 20,000 words long. I am still debating whether I should do illustrations as well.
You can help.
Do you have an inner critic? How do you see it? What does it tell you?
Would you please share stories of your inner critic with me through comments? It will help me write the book.