Monday, January 19, 2009

Published Materials


More coming soon!


04/07/2010- "Dandelion"
Poem / Maumelle Monitor

03/2010- "To Know Not Change"
Poem / The Shine Journal

11/04/2009- "Memories of War"
Poem / Maumelle Monitor

05/2004- "Maumelle panel eyes 97 acres for homes"
News article / Maumelle Monitor
Page 1A and 6A

05/2004- "Sarah Waller - She loves art and soccer"
Feature article / Maumelle Monitor
Page 14 (of graduation insert)

*This list does not include any published press releases that I wrote for my job.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Inner Child (Critic)

I wrote this blog back in early October while I was at the writing conference in Eureka Springs, but things in my life got crazy about then and I didn't get around to pulling the file off my laptop and posting it til now. This is for all of the creative people out there and explains a lot about why we are the way we are. I know I for one never think my writing is good enough and this helps explain why us creative folk feel that way. :-)

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I just got out of a session with Phillip Finch and it really spoke to me. I think his talk would have significance for any writer, or anyone creative for that matter. He said that as writers, we struggle the most with our inner critic. I have heard talk of the "inner critic" before, but Phillip's presentation explained it with such clarity and really hit home on almost every single point he brought up.

The inner critic is the little voice inside that constantly criticizes our writing. It tells us that our writing is not good enough; that we are not good enough; that there are more important things to do; that we don't feel like writing; that we aren't good writers and can't write. Any success we do find as writers, it tells us was just luck and not something we could ever do again; making us find reasons to procrastinate.

Phillip explained it as the "inner child"; a subconscious part of ourselves that has internalized the lessons we have learned and builds them up into these enormous fears. It works based on symbolic imagery like the mind of a child. For example, a child can take two unrelated things and connect them into a monstrous misunderstanding. Our inner critic functions in the same manner. It only intends to protect us from things that might hurt us.

To write a successful novel is wonderful for us. It's our dream on the a conscious level. But our subconscious is afraid of it. It's afraid to try because it's afraid of failing, but it is also afraid of success. Change comes with success, and in the mind of a child (and many of the rest of us) change is scary. Our inner child associates change with danger. A person could get hurt. The inner critic/child tries to prevent you from writing to protect you from that possible pain/danger associated with the challenges of the journey and the possibility of succeeding.

Phillip Finch explains it so much better than I do (see my inner critic is taking over), but his argument really does make a lot of sense. It explains why writing can be so very hard for most of us, and why young people with less experience and fewer worries in life tend to have a quieter inner critic. Teens and young adults pour forth writing easier because of they have experienced fewer things to build up negative associations and internalizing lessons that could subconsciously be applied to writing.

So how do those of us with a loud inner critic get past it? Phillip wrote a best-selling novel with all the perks that every author dreams about, but he didn't write another book for 12 years because of his inner critic. How did he overcome it? It's an everyday struggle, but according to Phillip, GOOD HABITS are stronger than even the strongest inner critic. If you get in the habit of writing for a certain time period every single day, it is an enormous step towards fighting the inner critic.

As writers most of us do not feel alive and fulfilled unless we are writing on whatever we consider to be our niche (same for any other creative person; artist; singer; etc). Without our art of choice; we cannot fail, but we will never succeed. To combat our inner critic, we have to make a conscious choice, "I will write today." And we have to keep telling ourselves that until we finally make ourselves sit down and do it. Even if it is a single sentence, all of the words eventually add up.

According to Phillip Finch, the power of suggestion also carries a lot of weight with your subconscious. If you are told you can't do something; your subconscious (inner critic/child) will make you believe you can't. But the power of suggestion is also important in convincing your inner critic that you actually want to do what you consciously want.

The inner child is motivated based on symbolism and emotions. Visualize your completed book in your hands and FEEL the excitement you would feel at that moment. That's the key to overcoming your inner critic. You must associate positive emotions with writing. Take time to actually FEEL excited about your writing. See yourself succeeding and feel the happiness as if it had just happened. Associate those good feelings with the writing you want to do; and that makes your inner critic want it as badly as you do. Instead of pushing you away, your inner child will become a Muse urging you to write more; eager for the reward.

Phillip Finch really does tell this better than I do. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, you definitely should. His talk really gets to the heart of what pretty much every writer struggles with. It is also very inspirational because it shows us that we are not alone and most writers struggle with these same problems. But if we really truly want to succeed, we can overcome them!