Put a Lid On It: Silencing Your Inner Critic
Because there's a little voice inside that says, "No you're not. You haven't sold anything. It couldn't possibly be any good."
That's your inner critic.
This voice pops up whenever you sit down to write. As your finger is poised to send a chapter to your critique group. When you stand up to read at an open mike. It showers writers with self-doubt, poking pinholes in the fragile balloon of literary confidence.
What to do about it?
Accept it. And write anyway. If your inner critic is going to show up, just expect it and distract yourself by writing. Every time you write, your writingimproves. Each time you share with a critique group, your craft gets refined. So write despite the critic.
Analyze it. Imagine that your fears and insecurities are attached to a series of extension cords, one connected to the other, snarled in a pile like a plate of spaghetti. Your job is to follow the cord until you find what it's plugged into. Is it a fear of success? A fear of failure? Where are the negative ideas actually starting from?
QueryTracker has an excellent article to help you analyze what is holding you back. Part One focuses on your beliefs and their consequences. Part Two encourages you to dispute what your inner critic tells you.
Embrace it. Let's face it. You may be able to tie up your inner critic, or ignore it for awhile, but sooner or later, it will rear its ugly head. So prove it wrong. Every writer, no matter how successful, wonders if their next manuscript will prove to the world that they're not who everyone thought they were. So if the bestsellers face it every day, we might as well use it to our advantage, and put ourselves out there anyway.
How do you tame your inner critic?