Monday, 2 June 2014

Letting go of our inner critic

It's very easy to give ourselves negative messages when writing. Things like: 'this is rubbish, why would anyone want to read this, I'm getting nowhere so I might as well give up, why am I bothering.' I'm sure you know the sort of thing and yet how often do we say things like: 'this is brilliant, people are going to love this, I'm a great writer.' Yep you're probably reading this nodding your head, admitting that you're predominantly in the first camp of thought rather than the second.

I'm not sure why this happens to us - after all if you're a dentist or a lawyer or in any other type of regular job, you don't tend to think to yourself on your way to work, 'I'm a terrible dentist, my patients hate me and I know I can't do this job, I'm really going to bodge up Mrs. Smith's tooth extraction today.' Or at least I certainly can't imagine that happening. Maybe any dentists reading this post will let me know otherwise!

I assume that some of this occurs because in certain professions, you have to qualify to do the job. Once you're qualified, you feel confident in your abilities. Someone else has given you the stamp of approval by saying - yes, you're good to go, you can do this now. Although there are writing qualifications and courses, it's not obligatory to have done this to embark on your writing career. I for one, have no formal writing qualification. I have certainly read lots of books fiction and non-fiction plus I read books about how to write and how others do it, I've attended a couple of one day courses here and there and I'm a regular contributor to a local writing group. My spelling and grammar isn't always the best, but I figure an Editor will help me out with that should I reach my goal of being published (see there I go again - 'should I get published' rather than 'when I get published.')

Do you suffer from this same level of self doubt and negative head talk in your writing? If so I suggest that we let it go. Today I'm going to tell any negative messages to go away, to stop bothering me, to leave me be. When those sarky little messages arrive - I'm going to ask them if they're really true and what are they based on? What are the facts here? If they tell me this is rubbish - I shall ask them based on what? If they tell me I'm never going to get published - I'll challenge them with based on what?

I'm a Coach as well as a writer and I often have this discussion with my coaching clients. We talk about letting go of the inner critic and instead try focussing on having an inner friend or coach, someone encouraging, supportive and who likes you and who wants to see you succeed. OK, we might need to invite the critic back for a short visit during the editing process, but that doesn't mean they have to outstay their welcome.

Why not give it a try today and let me know how you get on.