Judgement-Free Writing

shutterstock_186812807I’ve recently committed a heinous crime. No one was hurt, nothing’s gone missing (well, aside from a few marbles in my head) and I won’t break into a cold sweat when I pass a police officer on the street.

The crime I committed was against myself. More specifically, it was against my novel. My Muse even.

I’ve said before that my Muse personified is that sweet, crazy hippie. A free spirit, she just wants to run wild, letting words and stories flow freely, telling me to trust her, she knows where we’re going. And yes, we’ll have enough gas to get there.

As free-spirited as she is, she’s also deathly afraid of my inner editor. The editor is the mean girl bully that is always asking is why are we doing this, does that word make sense and is that what you’re going to wear.

My crime is against Pardon Falls. I let the mean girl in, and my Muse tried her best to help me, but she was in the bathroom crying way too much. So, I sent the mean girl shopping and the Muse and I are working on a new story.

In a way, working on this new story is my punishment. My way to repay my Muse for the hurt I’ve caused her. To show her I’m a changed person, I’m using the road map I created in Alexandra Sokoloff’s class at West Texas Writers’ Academy, but I’m letting her drive. I’m not telling her she’s swerving, or speeding. I’m not correcting her when she takes her eyes off the road (don’t worry folks, no car crashes in my imagination). I’m just letting her drive. With the top down. As fast and as far as she can take me.

She’s happy. Writing without judgement is exhilarating. I think this is why NaNoWriMo is so enticing. It’s writing fast, without thinking about anything but the blank page and road ahead of you.

Are the words I’m writing perfect? Heck no, but some of them are pretty damn good and I’m seeing things in this character that wouldn’t have come out if I was judging myself.

There is so much judgment in our everyday lives. Writing should be a sacred space. The creation of sentences, paragraphs and words should be treated as the birth of a child, born perfect but needing some guidance to grow. Judgement during creation stunts that growth.

And that is my crime. I judged myself all the way through Pardon Falls. I’m hoping that if I prove myself to my Muse with this new story, she’ll come back to me and help me finish that one. I’m not giving up on it. Just the opposite, I’m ready to fight for it. But when I face the mean girl bully inner critic, I need my Muse on my side.

About Kimberly Packard

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. Kimberly received a degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and has worked in public relations and communications for nearly 20 years. When she isn’t writing, she can be found rollerblading, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in North Texas with her husband Colby, Oliver the cat and a 75-pound lap dog named Charlie. Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors.
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