Many people give me advice. Mostly I ignore them. I'm an I-know-what's-best-for-me DIY kind of guy. You either know someone like that or you are someone like that.
However some advice just can't be ignored, no matter how painful it might be. I've been working on a novel for over a year now. It sucks, but quality isn't mandatory for a first draft. For a long time now my inner critic has been telling me that it doesn't suck because of its draft status. He says it sucks because it sucks. Of course that's just my inner critic talking. It's his job to be an asshole. The problem is, lately my more positive writing forces, the skull of the muse and the dream lizard, are agreeing with him.
I've lost all focus. The book is a collection of unconnected scenes. My villain has lost all his edge. My heroes their whimsy. The story arc has become a slinky in an Escher drawing. It's a mess and I just don't want to play ball with it anymore. Worst of all, I realize that this isn't, even if it didn't suck, a book that I would want to read. I realize that this isn't the book I want to write. It is the book I thought I was supposed to write.
In the midst of my inner critic's victory dance I considered, "What now?" So I sat at my desk, did my meditative breathing, and starting writing out a recent dream. Then I wrote some notes on the possible meanings of this dream and filled a page with "what ifs" and came up with a possible conflict/conspiracy. Looks like I've got a story write.