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5 Things Your Inner Critic Might Say (And Why You Should Ignore Them)
Every author has an inner critic – and while sometimes they can be helpful – they can keep your ego in check, can push you to write the best you possibly can, and make you into a good sort of perfectionist, there are also times when you need to tell them to pipe down!
Writers often struggle with self-doubt, and the fact that we have to face rejection from others (agents, publishers, negative reviewers) throughout our careers means that the last thing we need is an internal dialogue that also tries to put us down.
So it’s important to learn when to ignore those negative voices inside your head. When they are simply trying to sabotage you, don’t give in! They aren’t trying to help you and certainly won’t make you a better writer.
Here are five things your inner critic might tell you.
You’ll never be as good as (insert brilliant author/ someone you are jealous of in your writing class here)
It is so easy to compare yourself to author authors; you know those with the seemingly effortless and glittering careers. The ones whose work you read and shudder with envy before returning to your own and immediately crawling into a pit of despair.
However, let’s be clear here. Reading is so important for writing, and learning from the greats, being inspired by other authors and aspiring to achieve the same amount of recognition and success as them is all healthy. But letting their brilliance lead you to believe your work is awful and worthless is not. Appreciate that writers have different styles, and unique ideas – and you have your own special, individual way of writing too. Celebrate that and silence your critic by pointing out that there is no harm in being different.
No one wants to read what you have written.
It is easy on those doubtful days, to convince ourselves that no one would ever want to read our book. Why would they? There are a million other books out there guaranteed to be far more interesting/insightful/ helpful/ inspiring than ours right? Don’t let yourself be the judge of your own merit, or how important what you write could be to others. It’s true; not everyone will like your book, it simply cannot be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will also be exactly what some people are looking for.
Have you ever started to read a bestseller and thought ‘no, this isn’t for me’ or ‘I just don’t get what all the fuss is about’? Sure you have! So accept that while there will be some readers who don’t want to read the kind of work you have produced, there will be plenty of others who will appreciate it.
You don’t write enough
Our inner critic will always beat us up about not writing enough. However, the more time you spend sulking over that fact or feeling guilty about it, the less time you will spend putting positive steps in place to try and write more. All writers can do is their best, and try to fit their writing in when they can. It’s not always easy, and sure, there are probably times where you could do more. The important part is not to give up and just keep trying – however frequently or infrequently that may be.
Your writing is awful
We all have good days and bad days, and it may sometimes feel that you have ‘lost it’, and everything you write is terrible. However, just remember you can always, always revisit your writing and make it better. If your inner critic is telling you how bad your writing is, shut them down. The most important part is to get those words on paper. You can figure out how to improve it later.
Just give up
There will be days where you inner critic is powerful and destructive and will try to tell you to give up. You must ignore this. Tell yourself you can do this, that you are a strong person, that you can overcome obstacles and that you aren’t a quitter. Writers have to fight to keep going, and sometimes it can be very tough – but each time you pull yourself back from the brink of quitting you’ll feel stronger, more empowered and more convinced that you will get there eventually – so never give up, no matter what!