Do I basically run out of steam as a writer after just a few pages? Is this a failure of my imagination or a lack of discipline? My most critical inner voice tells me that this is just part of my inability to finish anything important. That I do have evidence to the contrary means nothing to her. She just doesn't like to be hushed.
When I can't get my inner critic to shut up, I start to live up to her expectations. Tonight, when I signed onto the blog, I headed to edit entries where I deleted several drafts I've started but dropped. They were boring. They were too whiny. They were too personal. They were too depressing. They were ideas that didn't deserve to be developed. When my critic gets going, she's very good at what she does. I let short, little blog entries drop because they weren't good enough. Then I got in trouble again for not finishing what I started. To avoid that criticism, I just didn't start anything.
That's the real problem with fighting yourself. You always lose.
I'm tired of that. I'm going to take a lesson from myself. The book I started and lost was about a musician who lost her voice and her ability to play instruments through an act of brutality. The story was about how my character grew when her primary tools for healing and understanding were taken away. She had to find another way.
I've always looked at the good novel as the pinnacle of literature. That's what real writing was all about. So, for me to be a real writer, I had to write a novel. That's a pretty destructive thought. It minimizes everything else I write. While I was trying to come up with ideas for the blog entries I deleted, I took a little time to re-read the poems I wrote for the Poem A Day Challenge in April. At the time, I didn't think much of them. After letting them cool for a few months, I realized they weren't as bad as I thought they were. There are actually a few that I like. There's some real writing there. There's some real writing in my handwritten journals. There's some real writing here in this blog.
I don't know if I have it in me to write a novel, but I'm not going to disrespect the rest of my writing if I don't. I'm not going to disrespect myself because my life hasn't followed the arc I plotted.
Tonight, I didn't fight my inner critic. I just walked away, and I feel like I won.