I turned 30 on August 10th. Yes, apparently it's milestone birthday season here at DSW!
My gift to myself was an epiphany: I miss my childhood attitude towards writing.
I've been writing ever since I can remember. Before I knew how to actually write, my mother would type while I dictated. It was one of my favorite playtime activities. Fast forward to 5th grade, when I started my first novel. In 8th grade, I finished my first novel. It was a wretched Sweet Valley Twins rip-off, less of a story and more of an extended musing on (a) how much I wanted a boyfriend and (b) how little I liked sharing a bathroom with my brother. But you know what? I loved writing that thing. My parents had to force me to get off the computer and go play outside. My best friend, bless her, was always happy to hear the latest chapter.
As I've grown older--and more serious about publication--things have changed. Thankfully, I'm a better writer than I was at age 13. And thankfully, I'm no longer lavishing pages of description on my heroine's "rad" stirrup pants.
But maturing as a writer has a down side, too. My inner critic has grown stronger, and she loves to rain on my creativity parade. I've also discovered a need to procrastinate on my novel. As a bonus, I've invented clever ways to criticize myself while doing so. (Excel word count spreadsheets = an excellent time-waster. Now I've outsourced my guilt to Microsoft!)
Is there any escape from the down side? I don't want to give up my hard-won improvement as a writer. At the same time, however, I don't want to lose my sense of fun. It is, after all, why I got into this whole writing gig. So I'm asking your advice: how do you balance professionalism with pure love of writing? And how do you ignore your inner critic until it's time to revise?