Monday, September 16, 2013


You have to take control of both writer and critic and learn where and when to let each voice emerge.

She’s rude. She has no regard for my feelings—or anybody else’s for that matter. When I see her looking my way, I cringe. I mean, my stomach really curdles. I would
run in the opposite direction if I could.  But there are times when she has me trapped, backed into a corner. Those are the worst times. She’s mean, she’s ugly, she’s got a HUGE rear end—and she hates me. The worst thing about her is that I find myself facing her in the mirror every morning.

I am my own worst enemy, my toughest critic, and the least supportive person in my life where my writing is concerned.

The same can be said for most writers I know. That’s not to say that a part of me isn't still delusional, witlessly hoping to win a Pulitzer prize or earn the title of New York Times Bestseller at some point. But the truth is, when asked about my books or my writing, I struggle to find anything positive to say. In fact, I recently did a radio interview to promote my book. The kind host asked me to talk about Indigo, to get into the book and talk about the story. I opened my mouth and began to blather on and on about a mythology class I took in college. Why did I do that? Why did I practically change the subject instead of sing the praises for a story I poured my heart and soul into, a book I really do like?

I love writing. There are times when imagination matches energy and words spring forth with carefully controlled urgency and I find myself glued to my keyboard, unable and unwilling to pull myself from my constructed world. That’s where the magic is; those moments of writing flow are what we ink slingers live for. But the rest of it? The rest of it is pretty close to agony. In order to sell your work you must be able to sell yourself. How can you sell yourself while there is a battle brewing inside your mind between the writer and the critic? In a word: balance.

Mind over matter, is what my husband says. You have to take control of both writer and critic and learn where and when to let each voice emerge. To be a successful writer, you must cultivate both voices, temper them, and learn where and when each is appropriate. For example, during the creative phase of writing—you know, that point when you've outlined and storyboarded and it’s time to add meat to the bones of your story—that’s when the writer voice needs to emerge loud and strong. That other voice, the one nobody likes to listen to, the critic—well, she needs to shut up. No, like really. Cover her mouth with duct tape and hide her fat butt in a closet. That writer in you needs to be set free without worry or concern.

On the other hand, when it’s time to edit—and I don’t care who you are, you need to edit—tell the writer in you to go take a nap and let the critic out of the closet. Despite all the ugly things I've said about the critic, she’s not all bad.  In fact, in the right setting, she can become one of your greatest allies, allowing you to polish your skills, accept constructive comments, and manage your expectations.

But that’s pretty much where her reign ends. Sooner or later you’re going to have to find the energy and passion to sell your story. That’s when the critic needs to be put away—far, far away. Book her a ticket on a one-way cruise to somewhere icy and cold and perfect for witches like her. Am I right?

The bottom line is this: Believe in yourself. Believe in your talent. Trust your gut, paying attention to both the writer and critic in you. And when you find yourself loathing the critic staring you in the mirror every morning, take a break, take a breath, and then write her out of your next chapter.

  • How do you overcome the blues when you become your own worst critic?

Fiauna Lund

Seventeen-year-old Brit Kavanagh is hiding something: Just before her mother disappeared, she gave Brit faery wings … sewn into her skin.

When her father’s death forces Brit to leave the only home she’s ever known, danger follows her like a shadow. Catastrophe strikes again and again, and at every turn, she is confronted by the terrifying apparition of an otherworldly banshee.

Desperate to unravel the mysteries behind her wings and the curse of the banshee, Brit turns to Gentry O’Neill, a handsome stranger who knows more than he’s telling. With Gentry’s help, Brit pieces together her mother’s troubled past and discovers the horrifying truth of her own existence.

Her mother gave her wings, but she never meant for Brit to fly.


Fiauna Lund is a grown woman with an overactive imagination, a passion for writing, four children, and the dirty house to prove it.
Reading and writing have always been passions for Fiauna. During her childhood she spent hours exploring the woods of rural western Pennsylvania where she first began creating stories about faeries, pixies, magic, and mystical creatures.
She met her husband, Aaron, while attending Utah State University, and later earned a degree in human services from Columbia College which allowed her to study the uniquely challenged and inspiring people who serve as her collective muse. She now resides in Farmington, Utah. When she's not reading, writing, or running, she spends her time caring for her four adorable children and two curious cats. 
You can find Fiauna:  Facebook, Goodreads, Website/Blog


Glan Deas said...

My own enemy is my self respect. I am self employed. But I am not able to do buttering my clients. It gives too much effect my bussiness.

Kopi Luwak

Mason Canyon said...

Fiauna, I think you've captured the feelings of so many people here no matter if they write or not. I think these feelings could also be expressed by those who create by sewing, knitting, etc. I know when I crochet a piece, I'm always very critical of how it turned out. But it sounds like you have your critic witch under control. Wishing you much success.

Thoughts in Progress

randi lee said...

I certainly am my own worst enemy! Relief to hear that Im not the only one...thanks for the inspiring words! I feel better about myself already :)

Fiauna said...

Thanks, and I agree. In any endeavor the inner critic has a place. We just have to be mindful of how much we allow that inner critic to dictate how we feel.

Randi Lee,
I'm glad my words have provided a comfort to you. You certainly are not alone! Never let a lack of confidence become your defeat.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Self promoting is so difficult. You just have to let go and find that enthusiasm. Even if it's just for a little bit.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I'm a weird duck. I like hearing more about the person who the wrote the book. See, to me, your talking about mythology would have grabbed my interest and I'm sure I'm not the only one. So look at what you did and make yourself a mental note that it's ok to do that but practice how to bring a seemingly odd tangent back to the subject in hand. How did you use it to create your story? Practice transitional phrases to bring things back to the point.

We all have inner critic, some more harsh than others. :-) But I like your advice on knowing when to let it out and when to duct tape it to a dark corner of the hall closet, lol!

Fiauna said...

So true, Alex. Besides, self promoting is part of crossing the bridge from hobby writer to professional. As I said in the post, you have to be able to sell yourself--and that is true in any field of work.

Yolanda Renee said...

So true Fiauna, I hosted a blog talk radio show and promoted other authors with relish, but when the shoe was on the other foot, I had the hardest time talking about me. One interview had me blathering too, I can write about my work, I can blog about my work, but talk about my work. Oh dear! Although, I will admit the guest posts that ask for something personal are the absolute hardest to write. I am so not interesting. LOL :)

Good luck with Indigo - it sounds awesome!

Johanna Garth said...

I struggle with this constantly. One moment I'm on top of the world with my writing and the next moment I'm scraping myself off the floor. I wish I had a magic solution, but other than just rolling with the punches, I don't.

Fiauna said...

Yolanda, I'm sure you are a very interesting person! What I struggle with writing are posts offering advice. I'll open my heart and soul to anyone. But offer advice or share what I've learned thus far? No way; I feel quite inadequate.

Hang in there! We roll with the punches every day around here. You're right, sometimes that's all you can do.

Elise Fallson said...

Like so many, I struggle with the inner critic too. It's gotten the best of me these last few weeks, but I'm hoping that by reorganizing my day-to-day slowly, the words will start to flow again. Thank you for your post, the cover of Indigo looks amazing and it sounds like a book I'd enjoy. And thanks Sia for sharing a wonderful guest post. (:

Helen Ginger said...

Love the final logline. Writing and promotion are sooooo totally different. It would be great to only have to do the writing!

Michelle Wallace said...

Critic voice versus writer voice? The phrase "double edged sword" immediately came to mind...
I wonder how many writers manage to perfect the balancing act between the two. Is it a matter of timing?
Wonderful guest post!
Writer In Transit

Fiauna said...

You are right on. Reorganizing your day can only help. When I'm struggling, I like to set a timer--an hour, 20 minutes...whatever time I have--and sit down and write. I don't read. I don't edit. I only write. It's a trick that works every time.

Double edged sword--for sure. Quite literally, in fact. The trick I talked about above usually helps me achieve balance.

Thanks, everyone, for the positive comments about INDIGO's cover art. I agree, it is quite striking. The folks at Rhemalda hit this one out of the park!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Fiauna, that's a great idea! Set a timer and write--don't read or edit just write. It would give considerable freedom and clear your mind of anything but the story. My inner critic wants to correct and then change the sentences around or word choice, lol! Of course, you get all tied up with that and lose whatever writing energy you had. :-)

I do appreciate all the support and encouragement you've given.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

We know how to berate ourselves like it's nobody's business. I always try to go back to a review or comment from a reader or fan that's positive.

Julie Flanders said...

Oh, I can so relate to this. I say things to myself I would NEVER say to another writer, for some reason I'm fine with beating myself up. I love your idea of sending the inner witch off somewhere cold!

Great to meet you, Fiuana!