Often when I write, all I can see are what I perceive as flaws. I'll think that the writing doesn't flow as it should, that my dialogue sounds stilted, that my characters are two-dimensional, and, perhaps worst of all, that my idea just isn't any good--that it's boring, redundant, or unbelievable. I don't even know for sure how many stories I've started and then abandoned because my inner critic told me that my writing was just no good.
Recently, however, I was going through some boxes and unearthed a hard copy of a novel that I had started about a year ago. It was yet another in that long line of stories that my inner critic convinced me were going nowhere. I admit that I began reading it with trepidation: I wasn't sure I wanted to know just how bad it was. I read the first paragraph. To my surprise, it wasn't bad at all. In fact, I found it engaging, and aside from some sentences that I would probably structure differently had I written them now, overall, I found the story idea to be sound and--dare I say it?--interesting. Setting the story aside for all that time had give me the perspective I needed to see that, although some revisions need to be made, the idea itself is sound. Perhaps more importantly, I learned that my inner critic, while sometimes helpful, is not always right.
These may seem like simple lessons, and perhaps they are. However, every writer knows that her inner critic is powerful, and making a discovery like this one returns to the writer what she thought she had lost: her confidence.