We all have that nasty voice in our heads ready to criticize every mistake we make. The voice that tells us we aren’t good enough. The voice that wants us to compare others best to our worst. The voice that makes us want to give up. This voice, is commonly called our writer’s inner critic.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of that voice? To have an inner cheerleader instead.
A voice that tells us to keep going, keep trying. A voice that reminds us we don’t have to be perfect. A voice that accepts us for who we are and recognizes that we are trying our best. That voice exists, and I’m sure we’ve all heard it. But some of us are better or worse at keeping the inner cheerleader present when the inner critic wants to speak up.
So let’s talk about how to silence the inner critic and let your inner cheerleader have the stage.
How to Defeat the Writer’s Inner Critic
Talk to your Inner Critic
When that nasty voice inside of me speaks up, I usually let it. And until recently, more often than not, I agreed without second thought.
That’s the worst sentence ever.
Who do you think you are, calling yourself a writer?
You’ll never get published.
I’ve heard all of these thoughts enter my head, and at one point or another I strongly believed them.
Never did I have a conversation with myself, or let my thoughts question if this mean voice was right. I simply let it discourage me. I let my inner critic dictate how I could feel.
But now, I try hard to stay in control. I ask myself if what I’m hearing is really true. I question the validity of what my inner critic tells me.
What proof is there that any sentence is the worst sentence ever? How can anyone be sure you will never be published. Those aren’t facts. So you don’t have to believe them about yourself or your writing.
Agree with Your Inner Critic
I think about what my inner critic is saying. In thinking about it and asking if it is true, sometimes I decide it is. The inner critic can be helpful. Criticism can be useful if it motivates us to improve rather than leaves us feeling discouraged.
That’s a terrible sentence.
You don’t know how to fix that plot hole.
You don’t have the knowledge to self-publish.
These thoughts, are often true. For now. And that’s okay to realize as long as I’m willing to think about what I can do to fix it.
So, occasionally, I agree with my inner critic. But I don’t stop once I’ve agreed.
Ask Your Critic How You Can Improve
If you find your inner critic is telling the truth, dig a little deeper to find a solution. Luckily, even the worst sentence can be revised.
Plot holes are fixable too. Read similar books, read books about craft, and just keep revising until you have the knowledge and the confidence to fix the worst plot hole.
There are tons of resources available to learn about traditional and self-publishing.
Your writing might not be perfect now. You may not have all the knowledge you need. But if you take the time to realize these weaknesses, you will be one step closer to creating a solution. You will be able to improve as a writer and reach your dreams.
Turn Your Inner Critic into an Inner Cheerleader
Don’t forget to offer yourself some encouragement too. As you engage with your inner critic and stop letting negative thoughts discourage you, it should be easier to let yourself believe encouraging words too. Don’t be afraid to tell yourself you are doing a good job. It’s okay to compliment yourself and recognize what you are doing well.
How do you defeat your writer’s inner critic?