The Antiboss

Since the beginning of July, I’ve been working as a freelancer. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve, and one of the weirdest things to adjust to is that I no longer have a boss.

I’m not alone in this – in fact, I realised it when I was reading some tweets by another freelancer, who was musing on the fact that he has to invent his own bosses. Apparently, that day, he’d made both a cat and a plumber his boss, just so he had someone to feel accountable to.

I don’t have a cat, and I haven’t yet had to call a plumber, so I’ve been a little stuck for bosses. But while I’ve been casting around for inspiration on how to get and stay motivated, I’ve discovered that I have the exact opposite of a boss. An antiboss, if you will. The inner critic.

I’m already very familiar with my inner critic. It likes to offer opinions on my writing, my dancing, and my interactions with other humans, and not in a constructive way. It didn’t do any better as my self-appointed boss.

With my inner critic on my shoulder, focusing is impossible, because it can find any reason for me not to work on my writing. I should finish my chores, or do some research, or go out.

I’ve only just realised what my antiboss is telling me when it distracts me from writing. It’s telling me that what I’m writing isn’t important, and that if I work on it, I’m wasting my time.

It’s an easy thing to believe. A lot of writing is a slog – typing words that you know you’re going to delete at a later point, just to get them out of your head and in a form you can work with. And even though you know that’s part of the process, it still feels pointless at times.

Today, I decided that my inner critic is fired. It’s not a good friend to me, and it’s certainly not a good boss. I’m going to find a replacement.

You know, the neighbours have a cat…


About Alice Nuttall

Alice Nuttall is a caffeine-guzzling knitter who divides her time between Oxford and the various worlds in her head. She is the author of a YA fantasy novel, Spider Circus, and three webcomics, Footloose, Cherry, and Black Market Magic, as well as several short stories.
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