My Inner Critic is Killing Me

I have to admit that I am currently very frustrated with my writing and my inner critic seems to be winning. First of all, I am disappointed with yesterday’s post on this blog. I think the idea was good, but I felt all tongue-tied(keyboard-tied?) trying to write the thing and I’m afraid the whole post was uninspired. It could have been better.

Then, there is my current work-in-progress, the Christmas short story I have mentioned here before. To put it bluntly, I think it’s total crap and so does my inner critic. My original idea was funny, but I haven’t been able to put it together to form a coherent story. I keep editing and editing the story and feel like I keep moving further and further away from being finished. I don’t think I’m going to finish this one before Christmas and may just junk it and start on the story for Shimmer Magazine. I feel like I’m regressing as a writer.

With the short story, I’m not using an outline as usual. I think I may have to rethink this strategy. I like not working with an outline, because it’s exciting to discover the story as I go. However, I think this is contributing to the lack of a cohesive story. For my next project, I think I’m going to actually do some pre-writing planning, flesh out some characters, and figure out what I would like to happen in the story before I begin to write. A change can’t hurt, right?

Well, just for the heck of it, here are the first few paragraphs of the story I was working on, a story from the perspective of the Head Elf at the North Pole:

We Are Santa’s Elves

It’s not always Christmas at the North Pole. Obvious, I know. People seem to think it’s candy canes, hot cocoa, and songs about snow all the time. We work hard too, though, and sometimes things are rough,like the time Santa barged into my office and told me we had to let some of the elves go. Worst day of my life.

The problem was, people would rather buy their toys from Wal Mart or order them online than take the time to write a letter to Santa, not knowing if they were truly naughty or nice. We simply no longer needed so many workers.

It’s not like I didn’t try to improve our lot here in the North Pole. It was my idea to try Google adWords, to get people to consider us when they were searching the web for toys. Also, I figured it was time to pull back on the Santa’s Helpers program. When we first launched the program, it was important to get “Santa” out in the malls, to meet the kids and get their Christmas wishes directly. The Santa’s Helpers program, though clever at the time, was clearly no longer effective. And let’s be honest, Santa is an intimidating guy, more so when he is represented by a washed up alcoholic with a fake beard. Some screaming toddler peeing on some poor guy making minimum wage wasn’t helping anybody. We don’t need that type of publicity.