We all know that voice well: the little one in our head that says we’re not good enough, experienced enough, clever enough to do what we want to do. It’s our Inner Critic — and this is one critter that never seems to go on holiday!
Cynthia Morris, the author of Chasing Sylvia Beach and a writing coach (OriginalImpulse.com) knows exactly how tough it can be to manage those pesky whisperings in your ear ever eager to discourage and defeat you. It took Cynthia 12 years and lots of drafts to complete her book.
Having faced down her own Inner Critic and helped other creatives do the same, Cynthia gave some helpful tips on quieting your own negative self-talk in an interview about the writing process:
1) Acknowledge it: “That voice is always going to be there…The minute you do something creative, it’s there to shut you down.” So don’t fight it, accept it: know that your inner voice is going to have its say, no matter what.
2) Trust yourself: Know that if you just keep going and focus on your work and not on that voice in your head, it will quiet down.
3) Enlist it: Create a separate identity for that voice and make it your ally instead of your enemy. Ask it these questions: What do you want from me? How can you help me?
4) Make a choice: Realize that every day, you have to make a choice about what you’re going to listen to — and then move forward with the work you’ve chosen to do.
In my experience, the key is to have confidence and relax: Know that you’ve quieted down that voice before and you can do it again. All it really wants is a bit of attention: Just give it a nod and then get going. And write on!