How I Close the Door on the Critics

And tease out my Muse

Marilyn Flower


Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

“Write shitty first drafts.”

This great wisdom comes from Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird, a writing book where she takes us readers inside her head and we get to see how similar her inner committee’s rants and raves are compared to ours.

No one’s over my shoulder. At least not in the flesh.

But my would-be audience lives in my head and comments through my writing session like a Howard Cosell sports commentator.

“Ah, what a mamby pamby title. Who’d want to read that?”

Shut up. It’s just to get me started.

“Well jazz it up a little bit.”

There. See! How’s that?

“Profanity is the lazy way. Be original”

Shut up. Or I’ll use it on you!

“You call that an opening line? Please!”

Shut up. It’s just to get me started.

See what I’m up against? You, too?

How to put these guys to sleep while I write my “shitty” first draft.

Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep.

But I’m fresh out of opioids. Besides, it would put me to sleep and I’d never hear the end of it from my sponsor.

What works for me

What works for me is music. Loud but wordless. Instrumental music is instrumental in helping me silence the inner voices.

I think it works by having something else I can listen to that fills that space in an abstract way that does not distract the way singing would.

Another ploy is to do something mindless with my body. Especially with water. This can be taking a shower or washing dishes.

The water gets ideas flowing. And while my body is busy, creative thoughts start percolating.

Especially in the shower. It’s almost as if the muse is teasing me.

“Betcha won’t remember this.”

Try me!

The idea on how to completely rewrite my recent post about entering the world of To Kill A Mockingbird came to me in the shower. When you read it I explain…



Marilyn Flower

Writer, sacred fool, improviser, avid reader, novel forthcoming, soul collage facilitator, prayer warrior and did I say writer?