Beat Your Inner Critic

07 Mar

I’ve blogged about this before and I’m quite certain I will do so again. It’s one of my biggest challenges. How to beat down my inner critic. The one that says it can’t be done. I’m a terrible writer. I’ll never get published. Why am I doing this to myself?

Quite simply, I love it. I love writing and creating stories. But sometimes, that inner critic – I call her Mildred – rises up and gets in my way. These are my favorite tricks to beat her back down.

1. The Power of Suggestion

I’ll come across a motivational quote or something that a favorite author of mine has said and I will put it on a sticky note and paste it to my computer. There is a power in words. I read it and allow myself to believe in them. Believe in myself.

2. Focus on the Positive

If you enter contests or have a critique partner or have received a non-form rejection letter with comments from an agent or editor, you know that you get good comments with the bad. Focus on those positive comments. Don’t ignore the critiques if they have substance – maybe your POV could use a little work. But don’t knock yourself down over it. That’s what editing is for. If I receive a nice review from a contest judge that resonates with me, I’ll save those comments and bring them out to re-read them.

3. Acknowledge Your Strengths

It’s easy to see our own weaknesses. Sometimes that’s all that we see. If you can’t see your own strengths clearly, ask your critique partners or friends. Sometimes they will come up with things that will surprise you. Acknowledge that strength. If your inner voice says something nasty about your latest action scene, remind yourself that your dialogue rocks and rewrite that action scene until it rocks too.

4. Never Give Up.

This is your dream. All yours. No one can take it away from you. Celebrate that dream. Let it flourish and grow. Never stop dreaming.

What do you do to beat your inner critic?



Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Idaho


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20 responses to “Beat Your Inner Critic

  1. TheOthers1

    March 7, 2012 at 5:49 AM

    I keep writing. A lot of times she’ll tell me what I’ve written is crap so I just keep writing until something amazing comes out. She’s just wants me to give up and continuing on denies her the satisfaction.

    Between our muses and our inner critic, writers could definitely be diagnosed with mental disorders. Dissociative personality and bipolar disorders. Lol.

    Very nice post. šŸ™‚

    • Meredith Conner

      March 7, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      I tend to think multiple personality disorder with all the voices in my head šŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting and I love that you deny her the satisfaction and continue writing until something amazing comes out.

  2. Janis McCurry

    March 7, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    Good points, Meredith. It’s a process, that’s for sure.

    • Meredith Conner

      March 7, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      And a roller-coaster ride šŸ™‚

  3. Peggy Staggs

    March 7, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    I figure the reason I keep writing is because I’m mentally ill. The people in my head insist I put them on paper (screen.) The people on the outside, who read my stuff, say it’s not sooo bad. But that other voice–the one that shouts down all the others–keeps reminding me I’m terrible.
    I do a lot of the same things you do. I love the quotes. I have books full of them and they do help. As for the never give up part…see mentally ill.

    • Meredith Conner

      March 7, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      We’ll sit next to each other in the asylum then šŸ™‚ I believe the people on the outside say much nicer things than your writing is “not sooo bad” and I’m one of them. One of the lines that I just read from your story is my favorite line of the week. Loved it!!!!!!

      • Peggy Staggs

        March 10, 2012 at 4:01 PM

        Yeah! I’ll know someone at the home ; )

  4. Liz Fredericks

    March 7, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I look to my critique partners and the occasional frozen snickers. Oh, and like Peggy, I’ve embraced by abnormality.

  5. Meredith Conner

    March 7, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I have no “occasional” when it comes to frozen snickers. Been there, ate them and am still trying to get rid of their evidence. I totally agree with the critique partner part, I know I totally rely on your opinions and thoughts šŸ™‚

  6. stephanieberget

    March 7, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    You’ve nailed it. My inner critic is shouting full force as I go through my edits. Thanks for this. It reminds me to kick her out of my head and enjoy the process.

  7. Meredith Conner

    March 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Your welcome. There are days when I am in full battle mode and it always helps me to go over these steps šŸ™‚

  8. ramblingsfromtheleft

    March 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Well Meredith, it works like this. First I beat the sh$t out of her, put on some mind bending music, or go move around the pool. If need be, I walk in circles in front of the computer and give “her” a piece of my mind. Like my kids, she’ll do anything to shut me up. Case solved šŸ™‚

    • Meredith Conner

      March 7, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      Love it. I’m going to try that method!

  9. virginiaripple

    March 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    I usually tell my inner critic that, yes, this may suck now, but it’s a process and is fixable. She grumbles and mumbles a little after that, but is generally quiet from then on.

    Thanks for the great ideas.

    • Meredith Conner

      March 7, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      Mine likes to back-talk a lot. It’s unfortunate and I’ve considered buying a dart board, but then I’d be putting my own face on it and, well, that just seems masochistic.
      You are very welcome for the ideas. I’m sure I’ll be posting more at some point šŸ™‚

  10. Mary Vine

    March 7, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    I’ve enjoyed the comments here. My “Mildred” tells me I’m wasting my time so I’ll never get the next ms done. I tell her it’s okay, I’m not lazy, that I have other commitments and I will get to it when I can.

  11. Meredith Conner

    March 7, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I wish my Mildred were that understanding šŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting Mary and I’ve enjoyed these comments too.

  12. Lynn Mapp

    March 7, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Meredith, I tell that **** to get off my back. It’s my time to “waste” if I choose to. It’s that simple. Leave me alone and bother someone else.

  13. Marsha R. West

    March 8, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    My favorite quote for this is from James Michener: I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.
    I’m a long way from the “excellent writer” place, but this encourages me to keep on plugging. Good comments, y’all.

  14. Clarissa Southwick

    March 12, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Wonderful tips, Meredith. I would only add “Surround yourself with people who believe in your dream.” Thanks, for another inspiring post šŸ™‚


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