Tag Archives: inner critic

Several free workshops: Come play!

tree roots at the edge of the river
Inner Critic Workshop
Monday, October 22, 2018 (6:30PM – 8:00PM)
Yellow Springs Community Library
415 Xenia Avenue, Yellow Springs, Ohio
Virginia Hamilton Meeting Room

Rebecca Kuder is offering this engaging workshop that will allow people to rediscover and liberate a sense of play; unleash the creative spark; and demystify & disarm the inner critical voice that’s holding us back! Please wear comfortable clothing (always!). Please bring pen and paper.
This is NOT just for writers! This is for anyone who wants to tone down self-doubt and find more joy in life.

Creative Writing for Adults
Monday, October 29, 2018 (6:30PM – 7:30PM)
Beavercreek Community Library
3618 Dayton Xenia Rd, Beavercreek, OH 45432
Large Meeting Room

National November Novel Writing Month is right around the corner! Novelist Rebecca Kuder leads you in several creative writing exercises to help inspire your inner author. Please bring a pen and notebook.

Revision and Editing of Creative Writing
Monday, December 3, 2018 (6:30PM – 7:30PM)
Beavercreek Community Library
3618 Dayton Xenia Rd, Beavercreek, OH 45432
Large Meeting Room

Learn methods for revision and editing of creative work, and find out what steps you need to take to get published. Rebecca Kuder returns to answer your questions. Please bring a pen and notebook, though we will have some supplies on hand. Registration required. To register: https://preview.tinyurl.com/ycqwlkj9

About Rebecca

Rebecca Kuder’s short story, “Curb Day,” was chosen for reprint in Year’s Best Weird Fiction vol. 5. Her essays and stories have appeared in Tiferet Journal, Shadows and Tall Trees, Jaded Ibis Press, Lunch Ticket, and The Rumpus. In addition to leading community workshops, Rebecca taught creative writing at Antioch University Midwest, Antioch College, and The Modern School of Design. Currently she teaches at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton. She served on the board of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with her husband, the writer Robert Freeman Wexler, and their daughter. Rebecca holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles, is a recipient of an individual excellence award from the Ohio Arts Council, and blogs at www.rebeccakuder.com.

 

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from Several Short Sentences About Writing, by Verlyn Klinkenborg

several short sentences about writing--book cover

 

 

From Page 131:

“You may feel uncomfortable with the word

‘authority.’

Perhaps is sounds dominant, overbearing, ‘authoritarian.’ You may need to work on the problem of self-deprecation,

Self-distrust,

Especially when it comes to noticing the world around you

And what you’re able to say about it.

You may be used to denying your perceptions and dismissing your awareness.

You may be caught in a constant state of demurral

Or have the habit of belittling yourself.

 

Watch for the chronic language of self-disparagement,

The moments when you say, ‘My problem is…’

Or ‘It doesn’t matter what I think.’

If you say these kinds of things, you probably say them out of habit, almost unconsciously.

This is a product of your education too, at home and at school.

Pay attention to it.

Recognize how harmful it is.

Its message—subliminal and overt—is that your perceptions are worthless.

 

Do everything you can to subvert this habit.”

 

 

“Writing is a head game.” –Connie Schultz

tree roots at the edge of the river

I am putting this here so you all can read it, and so I can remember it, because it’s wise and true:

Connie Schultz, giving the keynote speech for this year’s Antioch Writers’ Workshop, said:

“The first one who needs to believe you are a writer is you. Writing is a head game.”

FREE Inner critic workshop (YS library, Oct. 22)

sculpture garden, Ogunquit Museum of Art (Maine)

sculpture garden, Ogunquit Museum of Art (Maine)

Please spread the word! It’s going to be fun!

For more info: https://greenelibrary.bibliocommons.com/events/search/fq=types:(5a65fa90866d942f009e3ae4)/event/5b5c9ebe31b1973100abb846

Inner Critic Workshop

 

Monday, October 22, 2018 (6:30PM – 8:00PM)
Yellow Springs Community Library
Virginia Hamilton Meeting Room

Description

Rebecca Kuder is offering this engaging workshop that will allow people to rediscover and liberate a sense of play; unleash the creative spark; and demystify & disarm the inner critical voice that’s holding us back! Please wear comfortable clothing (always!). Please bring pen and paper.

The inner critic is everywhere! But that won’t stop us, no!

IMG_20180405_101038871.jpgRecently I had the pleasure of teaching at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop‘s Dive Into Your Story: Where do you get your ideas?We dealt with the inner critic and how to renegotiate the relationship, moving aside the noise so we can get to getting ideas, and writing.

You who read this blog know I write & think about the inner critic all the time, so it was very fun to share those practices (inspired by Gayle BrandeisLynda Barry, Bonni Goldberg, Amy Cuddy, and others) with the humans at the workshop.

After the workshop, I got an email from one of the participants, Fredrick Marion. I’m always thrilled when the inner critic takes visual form, gets post office box, and becomes capable of receiving a Dear Inner Critic letter. Kudos to the writers who make that happen. Here’s Fredrick’s letter…Enjoy!

p.s. You might also want to subscribe to Fredrick’s awesome newsletter.

p.p.s. To engage with your inner critic, here’s a place to start.

IMG_20180405_100933660.jpg

 

Letter to the Inner Critic (11/19/17)

photo of book, confessions of a prairie bitch

Spotted at Dark Star Books

Here’s a leftover I meant to post from my November inner critic letter-a-day challenge (to myself). Uncooked, raw, basically how it came out. Also: in the letter below, where I write “I was born to fly”, I would clarify that we were all born to fly.:

November 19, 2017

Dear Inner Critic,

Well, apparently you are a risk manager and I’m curious what’s the risk? What is it that is on fire? The house already burned down, it’s gone. What are you afraid of? You seem to be afraid I’ll make any noise, that I’ll embarrass you or be noticed (or just seen) and that somehow scares you. You don’t want me to stand out, you want me to fit in & do what the world seems to want safe people to do. But I was born to fly. It’s not a safe thing, but I can try and work and fail and try again. I am a survivor, you know that, and if I fail, or get ignored, or rebuffed, or insulted, I will be okay. I’m stronger than you think I am. Also, I do appreciate your care—I know it’s a twisted kind of caring, the risk managing, the alert and hyper-vigilant posture. I know it’s because you want to protect me. But I need to follow the call and take risks and I need to be allowed to make a fool of myself, and I need to jump off the cliff and trust my strong wings. I’ve been flapping them and practicing with a helmet long enough. The helmet blocks my vision, the pads are too heavy. I don’t need them. I am strong and my body can sustain a fall. Because we work in metaphor and I’m not literally going to jump my unwinged human body off a cliff, I need you to know I’ll be safe, I am safe. I am using my words and my heart for this work, and my body is safe, and my spirit can only be fulfilled if I try and don’t shrink down from your alerts and warnings. I need you to know that I understand the alerts and warnings come from your wounded love for me. How you remember all the hurts and how they feel like they are happening now, but I survived those nasty in the woodsheds, and I can survive what’s to come, so I can do my work, and soar.

I love you.

Love,
Rebecca

Letter to the inner critic: Day 5 (fragments for the lying liar)

photo of blogger

Imperfection rocks.

(I blogged here about writing a letter to the inner critic for 30 days. You are still/always welcome to join me! Fragments from today’s letter are below. Disclaimer: The inner critic, for me, is many things, and can sometimes be negotiated with and can sometimes be helpful. Today’s fragments focus on the less helpful aspects, because that’s what came up.)

If anyone out there is doing this practice, please feel free to comment on how it’s going! I’ll blog more as we go along.

***

 

5 November 2017

Dear Inner Critic,

I’ve realized something. You’re a liar. You have been so unhelpful over the years…you’ve been the cataloguer and amplifier of lies…have collected trash and shit and saved it to throw at me. Why? …what do you gain by this continual flinging? Does it make you feel better about yourself, or does it make you feel special, or powerful? Real power comes from being wise and kind. Your kind of power is empty and destructive. There’s no need to tear me down, but you have made it your mission. And you’ve found my vulnerabilities and mined them, have become a specialist. I wish you had something of your own so you didn’t feel you have to take mine. It’s an empty life you lead, you’re just a shell collecting bile to toss at me. Until you can get that out of your system, I won’t like having you near me. You keep that in mind. I have beautiful walls that I’m building to protect me from your spewing, and you won’t be able to reach me. The walls are how I shut you out. Maybe someday you’ll get tired of screaming at me.

Love, Rebecca

“Go away, you rainsnout…” NOVEMBER! (30 days with the inner critic)

photo of Gaunt park at sunset

Dear people,

I am issuing a gift/challenge/invitation for the month of November (a month I love to abhor, by way of Tom Waits’ “November,” which you can see him perform here and read lyrics below.).

(If you read this after November, it’s never too late. Start anytime! And this does not have to be elaborate. You can simply do a 2 minute power pose, then write “Dear Inner Critic” across the top of a page, and write a letter. Or skip the power pose—though if you’ve never tried a power pose, it might be useful. It might help you feel stronger as you approach the letter.)

*

Every day, for 30 days, communicate with the inner critic. (If you miss a day, okay. But do as many days as you can.) (If you don’t know what the inner critic is, good for you! You don’t need this practice. If you do need it, read on.)

This work involves free-writing without stopping, without editing. The general rules are to keep writing for a set amount of time (or one page), and if you don’t know what to write, just write the words “tick tick tick” until you get back to what you are writing. If you only have 5 minutes, that’s fine! It can still be very useful. (The “tick tick tick” is courtesy of Lynda Barry, whom I’ve blogged about here.)

OPTIONAL PREPARATION (Not mandatory, but helpful):

DAY ONE: Get paper and pen.

Imagine, describe, SEE the inner critic. (If you watch Lynda Barry’s video, you might think of the inner critic as the mom with the bacon, interrupting the kid in the middle of his playing to say, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”) It’s fun to start by drawing the Inner Critic—use the Lynda Barry method using a random shape, then making it into a monster or character. Whatever works! But don’t think it in your head. Instead, move pen on paper to make the thing come to life (and to get it out of your body). Set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes if it helps. You can describe the inner critic with words if you want to. The point is to somehow embody (on paper) the inner critic. When you’re done drawing or writing the character, take a moment to name this thing.

Then on a new page, write Dear Inner Critic… and write a letter, as long as you want. Sign your name when you’re done. (I’ve done this with young people who have asked “Can I use bad words?” Yes. You can use bad words.) 

DAY TWO (& BEYOND)

Write a letter to the inner critic/monster/thingy every day for 30 days. You can also try any of the activities below if you get bored with letters. But remember, boredom is often good and necessary! I’ve done a letter every day for 30 days. One page at the beginning of my morning pages. (If you don’t know what the morning pages are, go here.) When I wrote a one page letter to my inner critic for 30 days, I arrived at some plateaux where I thought I was saying the same thing day after day (and thought, This isn’t getting me anywhere!). It got a little boring. But I kept doing it day after day, and noticed that things began to shift. I gained some pretty nuanced understanding of the dynamic between “me” and the inner critic (which is part of me, of course, which is part of the point). Among other things.

Alternatives to the daily letter (use any or all, combine, okay!):

  • Write the GIFT that you would give your inner critic. (It’s my suspicion that there is something the inner critic is lacking.) Describe the gift in great detail, how you would wrap the gift, etc. Really give time to What’s missing? What do they need? You might try: Dear Inner Critic, if I could give you a gift, it would be… (What is his/her/their/its deepest unmet need?) (You can also give them something you want to give them, but which they would not necessarily want!)
  • Write a dialogue between you and critic—you get the first line and the last line!
  • Write a physical fight scene!
  • Draw a one-page comic! Color it in! Good, good good!

If you know some friends who want to do this together (every day, or at some point in the month) maybe after you write, someone will want to read back what they wrote. If so, while the person reads, everyone else must draw a slow, careful spiral a la Lynda Barry’s practice, and listen quietly–MOST IMPORTANTLY, GIVE NO FEEDBACK!

Take care of yourself. This inner critic practice can be hard and upsetting, so please do figure out what support you need. It can bring up stuff that might need more time and attention than you can easily give it. Have a cup of tea or some sitting and breathing (or whatever nourishes you) as needed, and be extra generous with yourself now.

Please let me know how it goes! I’m going to do it, too. (Eeek!)

Love, Rebecca

p.s. I’ve written about self-doubt here.

p.p.s. I’ve written about the inner critic practice, including some of my letters, here.

p.p.p.s. If this practice is useful to you, remember: YOU CAN DO THIS ANYTIME! You don’t have to do it for a whole month. Have a job interview? Put the inner critic in its place before you brush your teeth that day! Find the inner critic something else to DO while you do what you need & want to do (without static from the inner critic).

*

No shadow
No stars
No moon
No cars
NovemberIt only believes
In a pile of dead leaves
And a moon
That’s the color of boneNo prayers for November
To linger longer
Stick your spoon in the wall
We’ll slaughter them allNovember has tied me
To an old dead tree
Get word to April
To rescue me
November’s cold chainMade of wet boots and rain
And shiny black ravens
On chimney smoke lanes
November seems odd
You’re my firing squad
November

With my hair slicked back
With carrion shellac
With the blood from a pheasant
And the bone from a hare

Tied to the branches
Of a roebuck stag
Left to wave in the timber
Like a buck shot flag

Go away you rainsnout
Go away blow your brains out
November

 

Register NOW for Writer’s Play Time!

IMG_0232

WRITER’S PLAY TIME

Rediscover and liberate your sense of play! Unleash your creative spark! Demystify and disarm the inner critical voice that’s holding you back! Nourish any creative process. Inspired by the work of Lynda Barry (Artist and author of WHAT IT IS and SYLLABUS) we will write and draw and move. Please wear comfortable clothing. Must be 13 years or older.

WHERE: Yellow Springs Library

WHEN: Sunday, September 10, 2017 from 2-4  PM

Register now!

(Ode to the inner critic, Monday)

IMG_20170626_133921643

Venice (June 2017)

(By Andrea Davis Pinkney, from her book, The Red Pencil. This poem seems to be a sort of ode to the inner critic.)

ERASE

At the red pencil’s end
stands a hard lump of clay.
I do not like its green.
So ugly, its green.

And pointy.

A baby snake’s head.
A thistle’s pricker.

A sick fish,
this green.

My speaking is still in snippets.

I ask Old Anwar,
“What to do with this clump?”

He tries to explain.
“An eraser.”

He shows me how
the baby snake’s head
can fade the red’s bright lines,
leaving smears
on the yellow page,
and green dust in its wake.

“Erase,” he says.
“Why erase?” I ask.
“For mistakes,” he says,
still trying to explain.

Mistakes?
My sparrow
sees no mistakes.

My sparrow sees only what
it sees.

Erase?

To me,
that is the mistake—to erase.