Andrea Witzke Slot writes poetry, fiction, essays, and academic work, and is particularly interested in the places in which cultures, ideas, and genres intersect. She is author of the poetry collection To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press, 2012), and her work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in such places as Spoon River Poetry Review, Southeast Review, Poetry East, Nimrod, Mid-American Review, Bellevue Literary Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, while her academic work on poetry and social change has been included in books published by SUNY Press (2013) and Palgrave Macmillan (2014). She’s been a finalist, runner-up, and honorable mention in several recent writing awards, including Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, Black Lawrence Press’s Hudson Award for her second book of poetry, AROHO’s Clarissa Dalloway book prize for her first novel, and the 2014 Calvino Prize for her short fiction. She lives between Chicago and London.
You know something? The inner critic is mean.
It loves to play on existing insecurities and drill into them as if debriding an open wound. It digs and hacks away at the flesh in those weakest parts of ourselves, and then, sensing the blood already drawn, circles and attacks in lancing strikes until we’re tempted to whimper in a corner, defeated.
The key as a writer is to armour ourselves against these abuses. As writers, we must harden ourselves against our own doubts and trust in ourselves and the work we are producing. (Tweet this!)
Today, as I was editing a scene from Birth of the Sacred Motherthe inner critic was picking on my grammar and sentence structure. I have a habit of doing interesting things with what might be considered a comma splice. Grammatically in the strict, academic sense, it’s WRONG. But the truth is, when the inner critic gets out of my way and my creative, playful self is allowed into my writing the inner me LOVES how I play with sentences like this. It likes the technique I use, and it thinks the reader will have no trouble understanding the sentence so why change what is ultimately a part of my