That inner critic

That inner critic is quite the beast. It’ll take a glowing review and whisper doubt into your mind. “Maybe they were just being nice. Maybe they just wanted to give a good review to increase their blog ratings. Maybe…

Like most writers, I too suffer from that inner critic. I’ve doubted my writing and wondered what the heck I was doing trying to complete a book, trying to compete with professionals, trying to compete with those who have editors, agents and a team of other professionals at their side.

One of the solutions for that nasty inner critic is to find intrinsic motivation. Easier said than done.

I read this post by Judy Mollen Walters and found not only a connection but solace.

“…even after you’ve “made it,” even after you’ve reached bestseller status or people clamor to have you speak at their events, you continue to have that pesky fragility. You still wonder: Is this book—my first or third or tenth—is it really, truly good enough? And sometimes you let it slip—like these authors did, the way they did—that you are really insecure, like everyone else.”

That made me feel better because if the ‘Greats’ can self-doubt, then I’m not that far off base.

And I’d like to echo Ms. Walters’ lovely parting message:

“So to all authors I say: Be kind to yourselves. Keep going. Ignore your writer fragile ego as best you can. Find people to validate you. Find happiness in the small moments when the writing seems on target. And believe.”

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Doubt your doubts

I loved this post by Steven Pressfield on Resistance and this one on Resistance and Self-Loathing. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

He defines Resistance as:

“that nasty, brutal voice in our heads. “You’re a loser, you’re a bum, a worthless waste of oxygen. Look at you. Do you imagine that someone like you could produce something original, something of quality, something that anyone else would care about? What ideas do you have that haven’t been done a thousand times before—and better than you could every dream of doing them?” Does this sound familiar? It is, of course, the voice of Resistance.”

The good news is “That voice in our heads is not us. It is Resistance. Those thoughts are not our thoughts. They are Resistance.”

We can say to that voice, thanks for showing up, but we’re not going to believe it. Give that voice a swift kick in the behind and go back to writing! Doubt your doubts.

Steven Pressfield put it yet another way just as amazing in his post, ‘Keep Gnawing’. I loved that post. Loved it. Like he says, it’s not about the odds or even about becoming incredibly successful and winning an award for writing, it’s about what happens if we don’t pursue our dreams.

Yes, I want fame and money but the truth is I write for me. I write because I can’t imagine what living would be like without it.

Steven says, “My great friend and mentor Norm Stahl, the godfather of the Foolscap Method, has a very earthy way of looking at this issue.

“Steve, a rat’s teeth grow in two directions—down from his mouth and up toward his brain. If the rat doesn’t keep gnawing on something all day every day, wearing down those teeth from the bottom, the top part will grow back up into his brain and kill him….You and I are like those rats, Steve. We gotta keep gnawing. The alternative is unthinkable.””

After reading three of his posts, I came to a life-changing conclusion.

I’m pretty sure I’m a rat.