As a writer, you will find your way. As a writer, this helps me find mine.
Updated: Aug 20
First. Don’t accept criticism from anyone you wouldn’t take advice from. Writers are flooded with input and opinions and feedback and notes and “just a thought”s. You don’t have to listen to everyone. But I think most writers should listen to someone. Finding someone you trust is the trick.
Next, trust your brain. This one might be easier for folks who’ve had to produce copy on deadline, like journalists and copywriters. Your 3pm client doesn’t really care that the muse didn’t show up on time with a bumper crop of cat litter headlines. When I’m stuck and I think, “it’s happened, I’ve run out of words,” I read this, from poet Richard Wilbur:
As a queen sits down, knowing that a chair will be there,
Or a general raises his hand and is given the field glasses,
Step off assuredly into the blank of your mind.
Something will come to you.
The something that comes to you may suck. But something will come. And then you make it suck less and less and less until it doesn’t suck anymore. Make it suck as little as you can on your own. Then show it to someone. And don't accept criticism from anyone you wouldn’t take advice from.