What my search for quotable lines taught me

copyright Cas Blomberg
copyright Cas Blomberg

My inner critic hates me. I know you’re all saying she’s supposed to be critical, but I think you underestimate her. She really hates me. Or maybe you know the feeling. Maybe your inner critic is just as vicious.

To combat the critical voice from hell that lives inside me, I try to tell myself the truths I already know but have to repeat daily. Truths about how I’m in this for the long haul, first drafts always sound like crap, 10,000 hours makes a master, and each word I write makes me better at my craft. That’s why half the posts in this blog reinforce these truths, at some level or another. Not because I’ve decided to become a self-help fanatic, but simply because I’m trying to convince myself.

That’s also why writing the profile for the Stockholm Writers Group website was so much fun! Maybe I should clarify. The bio part wasn’t fun at all. The inner critic had a field day with that one. She laughed, rolled her eyes and at one point, I swear she almost spit out her coffee. After hours of trying to write something that fits me, here’s what I came up with:

In a former life, Cas Blomberg wore a badge and wielded a gun. Now she wears whatever she wants and wields a pen. First published in 2008, Cas spends most of her time surviving Scandinavia’s brutal winters. Writing fantasy novels, short stories and poetry helps her forget about the freezing death waiting just outside the door.

Her latest novel, Ashborne, follows a cleric, her husband and one of the last elven sorcerers on a journey of discovery. While fleeing the past, each of them are caught up in an unknown future. The book is available for purchase at Amazon and other eBook retailers. 

Follow www.casblomberg.com for future updates on her work.

I liked the final result. I wasn’t crazy in love with it, but it works.

The fun part, though, wasn’t the bio, it was finding a quotable line from my work. If you ever need a pick-me-up, go do this. If you’re discouraged or feel like giving up, if you’re listening a little too hard to your own internal voice of doubt, stop what you’re doing. Give yourself an evening or a weekend and dig through all of your work looking for those hidden gems that you created. What you’re looking for is this:

– A line that creates interest and makes the reader want to know more.

– A line that makes you laugh. It can be by itself, or sandwiched between one or two other lines.

– A line that makes the reader feel some emotion.

That’s it. I’m 100% positive you can find more than one of those. Don’t believe me? Go try it.

These are some of the ones I found in my work:

– “My head was stuffed with marshmallows, but time ate those up.”

– “Robotic hens tended the gallery of misshapen eggs like a bizarre cosmic hatchery.”

– “Seven against one. No matter how many different ways that scenario played out, it ended with death.”

– “And you, where did they capture you?”

   “Somewhere south of the crags who ate the good captain’s brother and east of the armored men who chased me.”

I found so many, I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to use for my profile. I put them all in a spreadsheet, with columns for each different piece of work. Ashborne. Orbital Extraction. Bug (a short story I’m working on. One of the members in my writers group called it ‘deliciously creepy.’). When I had combed through everything, I printed the list and sat reviewing it for a few days. I asked my husband his opinion. My brother. My mother-in-law. Heck, I showed it to everyone who walked through the door. If we had ordered pizza during that time, I may even have forced the pizza man to pick a favorite.

In the process, I learned that the voice inside my head is way too critical and needs to get a life (to be fair, I sort of already knew that. But it’s great to re-learn it over and over again). When you do this, go back through your own work and discover these sentences that surprise you, you’ll be filled with pride. You’ll look at the words and think, Did I really write that? 

An inspiring exercise. I highly recommend it if you ever need to shut up your inner critic for a while. When you find lines you’re really proud of, share them with everyone else. Post them in the comments below. I’d love to read them :). 



Published by casblomberg

Cas Blomberg is a native-English speaking writer who lives in Stockholm, Sweden.