NaNoWriMo Day 3 – Kill Your Inner Critic…

before it kills you.

A talented blogger, by the name of C.B. Wentworth wrote the following post on her blog – My Inner Critic is Trying to Kill Me.  It was hard to explain to the co-workers why I was laughing so hard.  I think my inner critic and hers might be in collusion.

The Wall Street Journal had a great article about ‘Silencing your Inner Critic‘.

An Inner Critic can indeed roust you out of bed in the morning, get you on the treadmill (literally and figuratively) and spur you to finish that book or symphony or invention.

An Inner Critic can indeed roust you out of bed in the morning, get you on the treadmill (literally and figuratively) and spur you to finish that book or symphony or invention.

But the desire to achieve can get hijacked by harsh judgment and unrelenting fear. “There’s a healthy version and an unhealthy version,” says Daniel F. Seidman, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. In some cases, he says, “people may achieve a lot, but they are totally miserable about it.”

As we embark on our writing journey, it is important to quell the negativity that can, so easily, overwhelm us.  That bitter voice of other’s failed dreams can be changed into something productive with some effort.

  1. Monitor your thoughts. Jotting down your self-critical judgments — I’m a loser, I’m stupid, I’m ugly — in a journal or a personal-digital assistant is the first step to mastering them: That process alone may decrease the intensity and frequency. Also note the situations in which these feelings occur and see if you can spot patterns.
  2. Evaluate your judgments. Define your terms and examine whether your standards are arbitrary or fair. If you think you’re a “bad person,” are you a bad person all the time? Are there times when you are adequate?
  3. Collect objective data. Challenge negative thoughts with hard facts. Keep a short list of your achievements on a note card and pull it out when your self-criticism threatens to overwhelm you.
  4. Conviction or condemnation? Recognize the difference between thoughts that are critical and those that are constructive, suggests Therese J. Borchard, whose Beyond Blue blog on Beliefnet.com often deals with such issues. If you overeat at a picnic, thinking “I am a fat pig” is a condemnation, she says, whereas thinking “I’ll try to start eating better tomorrow” is a conviction.
  5. Re-evaluate your values. Make sure that whatever you are beating yourself up about is worth striving for. Some goals, like kindness, integrity, and being self-disciplined, enhance the meaning and quality of life, whereas others only feed into your sense of defectiveness.
NaNoWriMo is a time to kill the negativity and celebrate the act of creating a story.
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4 comments

  • Thanks for the mention. 🙂

    This post came at a perfect time. My inner critic has been a bit obnoxious lately. Thanks for reminding me that I do no write for my inner critic, but rather for myself and the joy that comes from creating a story.

  • Here’s another one you might enjoy:

    http://jhadaaddams.com/blog/?p=231

    • That was a great guest post. I’m working on subduing the squirrel critic so that I can get on with things. 🙂

  • Pingback: NaNoWriMo: Day 13 | My Writer's Cramp

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