When we struggle to write, the issue never seems to be writing itself. Have you noticed this? The struggle to write, when you chase it down, tends to be something going on in your life. Whether that something is personal crisis, relationship issues, work related problems, family struggles, financial trials, heath challenges – very little writing struggles emanate from the writing experience with a couple very notable exceptions.
Personal self doubt enemies. My “big two” which I spend a lot of time helping folks overcome are your “Internal Critic” and “Internal Judge.” You need neither of these chaps running around your psyche when you write. They do nothing but destroy confidence, undermine self esteem, and torpedo directions you might have taken had you not listened to their negative diatribes.
Your internal critic tends to be the easiest to back off, if you will only allow yourself to be open minded to the creative process and get away from the analytical. In my workshops, there’s always that person who cannot shrug off the burden schooling, society, family, and work placed on them over the years in order to get rid of the critic – temporarily. You see, you’ll need that critic when you’re in rewrite and edit.
The critic is that internal person who questions your sentence structure, your spelling, your story flow. The critic will bog you down into going back over previously written material over and over and over. For many writers, especially new writers, their tunnel vision is writing a perfect first draft (no such thing in my experience). The first draft is your creative muse. Your wanton approach to creating something different and new. When this critic holds sway over your brain, you will not get your book written most likely, and if you do, I will read dry and without passion.
The judge, now here’s a tough nut to crack for many of us. The judge is forever saying to you, “Who do you think you are to write a book?” Or, “Who’s going to want to read your words and thoughts and ideas and creations?” This evil internal entity is never needed in your book writing adventure. All this voice does is tear you down and hold you back.
I would like to say that after 37 years of writing, I have the “Judge” licked. I don’t. This dark, sinister aspect of my psyche rips through me like a violent, quick-hitting storm. In the aftermath, I’m left with loads of self doubt and demotivation. Neither of those situations stands as optimum to a writer.
You should train yourself to place the critic on a back burner. Whenever he/she steps up into your mind, recognize what is going on and tell them, “Thanks for your input, noted, but I’m writing at this time. Editing comes after I create the work.” Your speed of creation will pick up, and you will be less inclined to feed material from the critic to the judge. They love to work in tandem.
The judge. I truly wish I could give a permanent solution for the judge. This negative, domineering internal entity will drag your writing down to a standstill without remorse. In fact, this internal judge keeps you from doing many other things in life as well. Learning to deep six this guy is a wonderful thing.
I do realize there are some folks out there who have no “Judge” filter at all. I suppose, when I look at that, I see folks of huge ego who drive me crazy. One in particular who I met many years ago strikes me. He writes in total cliche and thinks it is great writing. There appears to be no “Judge” telling him his writing is weak and shallow. But you know what? He gets books written. He also sells quite a few.
Yes, this irks me, and other writers as well, but there is no denying his lack of internal judge and critic serve him quite a bit. Writing for a living calls for no fear. Actually, no, it calls for a massive positive response to fear. Fear creeps in to most writers over time. I don’t want to get into fear at this point in time, but fear too keeps us from writing.
Turn yourself around when you run up against these internal demons which prevent you from getting your writing done. Know that perseverance rules the day. Work to understand that the more you release yourself from the “rules of writing” placed on you throughout your life, the more your writing will infuse itself into your daily “look-forward-to-list.”
When your critic or judge comes at you, understand releasing yourself from them is more powerful than arguing with them. I liken this to the line in the movie “War Games.” It goes like this, “Sometimes the best move is not to play the game at all.” If you do not allow the critic and judge to engage you in internal dialogue, you may step into creativity without a lot of baggage and be ready to roll.
My upcoming book, “Inking Your Thinking ~ The Mindset of Writing” addresses quite a bit of the internal issues of a writer. Stay tuned for release dates. I will keep you apprised of my progress through rewrite and edit. For now, just go out there and write with abandon. Check your hangups at the door, leave your critics in the dust, and jettison that judge so you may be free to simply write your heart’s desires.
If you desire help in getting your book written, I teach a workshop titled, “Write Your Book in 30 Days!” The next workshop begins Saturday, March 5th. To reserve a seat, go to the registration page, which is where this link will land you: Write Your Book in 30 Days! I can help you get from an idea to a finished product!