Critical Mind Emails, and Updates

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Critical Mind Emails
* Update on Blackwell Ops
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dalí

Critical Mind Emails

First, read that quote of the day again. And again. Sear it into your brain pan.

Now take a deep, calming breath and read this:

From time to time, I receive emails asking questions about critical mind. The underlying question is ALWAYS how to stop it, or break it, or break away from it, or run it off.

Also, in those emails, the sender ALWAYS includes statements that illustrate exactly the kind of CM behavior s/he is trying to escape.

Yet the sender doesn’t even know those statements are there. Those statement, and how they are worded, come directly from the creative subconscious. It’s as if the writer’s creative subconscious is sneaking a message to me through the email: Please Help.

This morning I received a doozy.

Every question came straight from the writer’s critical mind. And every statement, from the creative subconscious, illustrated the critical mind at work.

I wrote a fairly lengthy response. I both hope and doubt my response was even adequate. I also informed the writer I plan to use the email and my response in an upcoming edition of the Journal.

Of course, as always I won’t reveal the writer’s name or even his or her gender. But the email was so steeped in critical mind it would be irresponsible of me not to share it in the hope that some part of it will help you snap out of it yourself.

So watch for that.

In the meantime, know that we’ve all been through it. Even while writing my 85th novel, I still occasionally go through it. And again, in hopes my foolishness will help some of you, I lay my failures and critcal mind episodes out in the Journal in plain view.

Bending to the critical mind is truly suffering as a writer, and there’s no reason for it.

The writer who sent me that email even wrote, “I’ve had trouble committing to anything the past few months.”

I have to admit, my first thought was, “Well, duh.” Because with that statement, the writer made my point: The critical mind WON during those few months. It completely stopped the writer from finishing ANYthing. For MONTHS!

The “cure” for critical mind is always the same. Be brave. Be resolute.

If you want to break free of critical mind, you have to take a deep breath and DECIDE you will NOT bend to unreasoning fear. Because it IS fear, and it IS unreasoning fear. Even if you write a story or novella or novel that sucks canal water from all 50 states, nothing bad will happen as a result.

Afraid writing something bad will hurt your career as a writer? WHAT career? If you stick with critical mind, you will never have to worry about that.

You have to DECIDE that you will NOT be bossed around over something as silly and unimportant as a particular genre or short story or novella or novel—and just write it.

Simple as it sounds, that really is all you have to do.

Update on Blackwell Ops Stuff

Wow. I’m writing so much I got behind on some things. Here are a few updates, all done yesterday morning before I started writing (after I sent out the Journal):

1. I created a PDF version of Blackwell Ops 18: Soleada Garcia: Settled and added it to the folder. So if you take advantage of the Flash Sale, NOW you can get PDF if you want it. (grin) And if you DO read the book, remember that it was 100% written into the dark.

2. I decided to open the flash sale to my readers of my free short stories over on Stanbrough Writes, so I wrote a new post there. The regular free short stories will resume as scheduled on Friday, January 26.

3. But doing that caused me to realize I hadn’t yet created a new book page over on StoneThread Publishing for that book, so I did that, then added the smaller cover to the Novels > Crime-Thrillers and Action Adventures page. So I did that this morning too. To see the book page, cover and description Click Here.

4. Then, while I was at the Stanbrough Writes substack anyway, I went ahead and uploaded Blackwell Ops: Sam Thurston (short story) and scheduled it for publication on March 15. So I’m good until then over there.

That was timely. It will follow a magic-realism series of short stories, and three other Blackwell Ops short stories immediately preceded the magic-realism stuff. So like bookends.

5. I wrote this, then went back to StoneThread Publishing and created a new page dedicated only to Blackwell Ops books. Then I updated a few other pages and revised the navigation menu to reflect all of that. And finally I was finished with the admin stuff for awhile. (grin)

Finally, I turned to my writing ‘puter to run through Soleada’s new story with her (see Numbers below). Something about why she stopped swimming. (I didn’t even know she had stopped swimming.) Should be fun.

And that’s where I’m going again right now.

I’ll talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

Hologram lecturers thrill students at trailblazing UK university

The Wound and The Contradiction Read for awareness.

Writing Best-Selling Hockey Romance with Becka Mack I couldn’t pass up linking to this. Talk about a specific genre! Anyone else ever hear of “hockey romance”? (grin)

Episode 881: Writer as Businessperson or Businessperson as Writer

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 930

Writing of Blackwell Ops 19: Soleada Garcia:

Day 1…… 4398 words. To date…… 4398

Fiction for January……………………. 84609
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 84609
Fiction since October 1…………… 387654
Nonfiction for January……………… 23510
Nonfiction for 2024…………………… 23510
2024 consumable words…………… 108119

2024 Novels to Date……………………… 2
2024 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 84
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 239
Short story collections…………………… 31

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Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

4 thoughts on “Critical Mind Emails, and Updates”

  1. I would say that fighting critical voice doesn’t work. The only way to win is ignoring it.

    BTW, scientific name for such a thoughts is ruminations. Don’t think about it is same as don’t thinking about a white monkey.

    Stephen King mentions somewhere in his fiction that Fyodor Dostoevsky scared his minor brother with it. Obviously it’s impossible, because Mikhail Dostoevsky was one year older then Fyodor.

    Fun historical fact: the actual quote was really introduced by Dostoevsky, but wasn’t so scareful. Looks like it’s from Chapter 6 of his not so famous essay “Winter Notes on Summer Impressions” and has another context:

    “Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute”

    Russian for “polar bear” is literally “white beat”. “White monkey” can come from it, because a white monkey looks more creepy.

    Same as Tertullian never wrote “Credo quia absurdum”, in original text it was more like polemic exaggeration: “and the Son of God died; it is [utterly] credible, because it is unfitting”.

    • Thanks for the opinion. I take your point, but fighting critical mind has worked for me for the last few million words. I blatantly call it out, identify it, then humiliate it and take away its power by laughing it away. I want it to know it is unimportant to my fiction. What happens in the fiction is none of my business. I only transcribe it. And if it is none of my business, it certainly is not the business of my conscious mind.

      Also, saying “Don’t think of the critical mind” does not make it appear in your mind like saying “Don’t think of a wriggling red worm” makes a wriggling red worm appear in your mind. But also, you can think of the worm or the monkey or the bear and then dismiss the thought just as easily.

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