ADDRESSING THE INNER CRITIC
ADDRESSING THE INNER CRITIC
#5 in the Memoirabilia podcast series on How to Write Memoir
NOTE: This post is NOT a transcript of the actual podcast…just a taste of it!
Just as I was about to post this blog and podcast of Chapter 5 of my book, “Don’t Write Your MEmoir without ME!”, a writing colleague, who is coaching other would-be writers, dropped me this one line email:
“Isn’t it strange how people can write a thousand-word email full of excuses for why they can’t start their fifteen-word-a-day short story! Ay-ay-ay!”
I burst out laughing. She was obviously gob-smacked by one of her student’s inability to get started. My associate’s timing couldn’t have been better given I was just about to share my thoughts on how to address that inner critic.
That inner critic is the single, biggest obstacle to writing and I’m willing to bet there isn’t a writer alive, famous or not, who hasn’t had to grapple with the voice of that inner critic time and again.
It’s like this: you attend a creative writing group. You get all fired up and motivated by an inspiring facilitator and the fervour of the other writers around you. You leave telling yourself you can do this! You can write a short story, or poem, or even get working on a novel. After all, as the mentor pointed out: “Just write one page a day and at the end of the year, you have a 365-page book!” Wow. Like how hard can that be? You’ve got this!
But the next morning, when the house is finally silent, you arm yourself with that coffee, grab your pen and notebook or put your hands on the computer keys, and suddenly, you go blank! “What am I going to write?” “How should I start?” You scribble a sentence or two, re-read it and think “I need a better word than that!” “Should I use a period or a comma here?” “Gosh, I’m not sure if this is a colon or semi-colon!” Arrrgh. “Time to get another coffee.”
Listen to what you’re saying to yourself! Those are the voices of your English teachers way back in Grade 9!
You sit there with that second cup of coffee, ready to start again, and you hear another voice: “Who’s going to read this anyway?” “Am I kidding myself?” “I don’t have what it takes. I don’t have any imagination. I can’t create characters out of thin air. How can I write a story when I don’t even know where it will end? BAH! I’m wasting my time. I need to do a washing…”
You put the pen and paper away or shut down your laptop and give up…again! You let all those inner voices that yabbered at you over the years win again. The worse thing is, you made all those inner voices your voice. YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST INNER CRITIC! And as long as you keep feeding yourself all those negative thoughts, you sabotage yourself.
In Chapter 5 of “Don’t Write Your MEmoir without ME!”, I give you an exercise to help you exorcise that inner critic. You might need to do the exercise daily, or at least weekly, if you are serious about being a writer. Listen to the podcast above. Better yet, buy “Don’t Write Your MEmoir without ME!”, and stop with the excuses. Start writing!
Silence the inner critic’s roar!
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