by Laura Michelle Thomas
One of the biggest obstacles standing between the wannabe writer and the published writer is an untrained inner critic or “literary dragon.” Last week, I focused my LTC Insiders on this fact by asking them to email me the worst thing their literary dragon has ever said to them for the Friday giveaway.
You may recognize some of these statements. If you do, be pleased that your are not alone, but also get serious about training your literary dragon by reading books like Polly Wants to Be a Writer and taking advantage of all the opportunities and knowledge that LTC provides for young writers through our contests, conferences, and jaBlog!
As you read these, keep in mind that the more you write, the more you move through the professional writing process, the more disciplined your literary dragon will become. That critical aspect of yourself will eventually learn to back off and let you be creative.
Enjoy and thank you to all the writers on our Insider mailing list who shared these secret whisperings with us.
The worst thing my literary dragon ever said to me is…
I don’t care if you’ve written 30,000 words! Just trash the whole novel, it stinks. - Victoria
Some people are born to be great and to fulfil a purpose. All the great writers of the world have a purpose but you are not a great writer, so you are without one. - Olya
Look at that great story you wrote and won a contest with year ago! You’ll be able never write at that level again! - Monique
You are not important; you don’t deserve to succeed. Just give up and forget about everything. - Katie
My dragon tears my heart out
chews at it, and
with my blood staining its teeth,
You’ll never amount to anything.
You should do this. Or that. Or both, maybe neither. Actually, to be honest, that whole passage is rubbish. Delete it and forget about it. Try again later. - Lorna
Why are you waiting to submit a final copy? Submit this first draft! Get rid of it! Who even cares what you have written? No one would notice that you have turned up your first draft, a ‘lump of clay’, because you are such substandard, faulty and defective writer that your final draft is as worse as the first one and not a soul will be able to tell them apart. Why do you even write? Quit writing! You can never ever become a writer! No one would ever want to read your work!” – Raiha
“Why bother?” my inner voice sneers to me. “This is just going to be one of your stupid, cliche stories with no plot what-so-ever!” - Huda
Don’t write. You aren’t serious about it, no one with your lack of talent can write anything good. You’ll make a fool of yourself. – Amna
There are millions of writers out there. You’re no J.K Rowling. Give up and study to be a doctor. Forget that you hate blood and gore and feel sick even when you prick your finger. Go with the majority of opinions. Man up and suffer for money and security. Dreams never got you that. - Rosemary
Do something more productive with your time than writing stories no one wants to read. Who’re you kidding, anyways? These write-ups of yours will not be of any use to anyone without being subjected to endless rounds of correction. Give up now before you end up making a fool of yourself. - Gayatri
Well, isn’t this pathetic? You’re wrecking your brains just to come up with what to write next, just pathetic. If you can’t do this then you’re not cut out to be called a writer. - Zuha
Stop deluding yourself. How can you think any of this is good? Go be a doctor. - Sarah
Your story idea is terrible and pursuing it is a waste of time. Rip it up now and forget about it. No one will ever know. - Natasha
Give up now. - Quinne
The worst thing my literary dragon has said to me is that my story is too boring and not worth the effort to continue writing it. - Sneha
Pointless, futile, waste of space,
Every sentence a disgrace,
Put down the pen and let it rest,
Even when you think it’s at it’s best,
It’s at it’s worst,
Every word you write is cursed,
Surrender now and save your fate,
Ere the hour dawns and it’s too late.
The Writer Gets the Last Word, Not the Dragon
Our literary dragons come in all shapes and sizes and they harp at us at every stage of the writing process, but there is one thing every literary dragon has in common: they live inside a writer, a talented but sensitive kind of human being.
To paraphrase Robert Dinero when he introduced this year’s Oscar nominees for screen writing, “writers are neurotic and insecure.” This is true, especially in the early days of our careers, before we have a track record of selling our precious words for cold hard cash. The writer who accepted the award for Best Adapted Screenplay was one of the few Oscar recipients who got teary-eyed during their acceptance speech. See, even Academy Award Winning writers are a bit wobbly and sensitive when it comes to being validated for their work. We all think we suck; the dragon talk just gets less intense as you settle into the craft.
To participate in our next Friday giveaway, please sign up for our Insider email list.