Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wicked Wednesday - your own worst critic

Have you ever found yourself making this face at something you've written, or something you've made, a task you didn't get quite right, or even at your own reflection? I do. A lot.

I am my own worst critic. Which, in turn, makes me my own worst boss. It gives power to that nagging voice in my head that says I'm not doing enough and what I am doing isn't good. The rotten voice that drags me down and makes me want to give up on everything.

Sometimes I can defeat my inner critic with my defiant will. I will finish writing the story and it will be dang good. I'll show that doubter I can achieve my goals.

Other times, my will falters. I can't manage to rally the strength to power through with a KAPOW! What then? Do I fall into the black hole?

I've learned how to avoid the void (most of the time!). You don't need to pull all your energy together at once and attack the critic. What you can do is chip away at it. Little acts. Writing for five minutes. It adds up. Stretch during the commercials of your favorite show. Your body will feel better for it. Smile and hold the door open for a stranger. Doing something nice for someone else will help drown out the critic.

The critic usually nags you about the big stuff. But it is the small things that can topple it.

How do you handle your inner critic?


  1. Hi Christine - it's difficult isn't it .. I do something else, take a walk and make a decision .. get on with it, or start again ... and I do make faces! Cheers Hilary

  2. I think I just plow forward without thinking...

  3. This is a great phrase - "avoid the void." :)

    Sometimes I have to whip myself into action, other times I aim for a more gentle approach.

  4. Does it amaze you, that we can read a paragraph ten times and find a change/correction on every pass?

    It is bizarre.

  5. I think I make that face every day, lol.
    I'm not so good at handling my inner critic. I'd like to just write without worrying about how bad it may be, since I can always go back and fix it. Having bad words would be better than no words.

  6. Ah...that annoying fool. She's a hard one to ignore. Truthfully, I just keep writing, knowing from experience that the words will come together the way I like them by the final draft and I just have to be patient with myself. Experience is the ultimate way to trump the inner voice.

  7. I make that face constantly. So much so I often wonder if my mother's warning about the wind changing and it staying that way have come true.
    I've been working really hard to battle back my own criticism of myself and just get on with it. It's not easy, but I am slowly, but surely getting better. :)

  8. I am my own worst critic, too, and mostly, I don't handle it. I just try to keep my head down and power on through.

  9. I just try to keep writing regardless, though sometimes it feels pointless.

    Right now my chief difficulty is lack of control over what happens once the book is done and out in the world. I'm working my tail off to get it reviewed, noticed, whatever, but there's only so much I can do! It's largely out of my hands. And that's tough to accept.

  10. I like the concept of chipping away at it. I'm quite terribly about criticizing myself, but I have been trying to catch myself when I do it, if only to keep it to a minimum.

  11. I manage to silence my inner critic when I'm writing first drafts, but when it comes to editing, it rears its ugly head. I try to ignore it and let my critique partners' support guide me away from the negativity. It has its place, only if it doesn't get in the way of fixing things.

  12. Ha. All the time! I think most of us are our own worst critic because we want our work to be perfect.

    Chipping away, bit by bit, is great advice.

  13. I try an remember the time my inner critic said, "Eh, not bad." :)

  14. I generally have a rule for my inner critic...he isn't allowed to speak up until the first chapter is done. Otherwise, I end up defeating myself before I've even started:)

  15. Oh boy, I totally get this! If only we all an inner cheerleader, too.

  16. Why do we grasp onto the negative so tightly?
    Great ideas on how to deflect that critic - lovely!

  17. Hmmm, drinking? lol Just kidding. Yoga can help me. Sometimes I just tell it to shutup and go sit in the corner. Unlike Baby, it should sit in the corner.

  18. Lately, when my inner critic pops up, if it's a story I've been working on and had other opinions on, I ask people what they think because I usually have some question that it's brought up and I've been mulling as a result.

  19. I think because I write my book in small chunks every day, I can shut that critic up. I just write a little, then move on to writing something for one of my clients. In between, I build up my courage to give it a go again!

  20. Hilary, doing a chore sometimes helps me too.

    Alex, or have a clone do it for you. *winks*

    Madeline, I'm trying to learn to be more gentle with myself.

    Mac, it truly is!

    Sarah, I think a lot of people aren't good at handling it.

    Crystal, age has given me the wisdom to know just to push on forward too.

    Joss, ha! I hope it doesn't stick that way!

    M.J., some days that's all we can do.

    M, that feeling drives me batty too.

  21. Meradeth, I try to catch myself doing it too. Then I'm susceptible to arguing with my inner critic!

    Cherie, yes, CPs do help greatly! :)

    Chrys, I agree. I'd love to be able to write a perfect first draft.

    Holly, that's very important to remember!

    Mark, good rule!

    Mshatch, I want an inner cheerleader!

    Yolanda, thanks!

    Mary, LOL. Yes, it should sit in the corner!

    Patricia, other voices are always helpful.

    Stephanie, that's smart!

  22. I'm giving my brand new project a wide berth at the moment (already! It really is brand new), because my inner critic just won't shut up. It thinks my idea is the worst idea ever in the whole history of ideas. I will silence it with chocolate ;-)

    Chipping away seems like a great idea.

  23. I'm the same. I kind of bargain with mine by making it wait until I can use it constructively. (Such as when I have to edit my or other people's work.)

    Small things adding up is a very clever way of handling it too, so to make that possible, I actively set myself millions of little goals and then celebrate whenever I achieve one. :-D

  24. Annalisa, chocolate works well for me too!

    Misha, bargaining helps me sometimes, and it is good to remember to celebrate!

  25. Yeah I'm with you.. I have my ups and downs all the time. I find if i just jump in and get working on the problem, it's the quickest way to get it out of my thoughts:)


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