How to Silence your Inner Critic

Do you ever question what you’re writing or ask yourself whether it’s good enough? Writers can be their own worst critics, especially during the act of writing itself. This kind of self judgement can break the creative flow, and worse yet, cause actual writer’s block. Before you start listening to that inner perfectionist, here are some tips to consider from other authors:

Finish the story

What if giving up control over the scenes, plot and development, could actually lead to better writing overall?

All writers get the block, but the most important thing is to finish the story. A lot of writers make the mistake of wanting to get every sentence perfect, sequentially. They’ll write the perfect sentence, and then the perfect paragraph, and then the perfect chapter, but then they’re worn out.

The above is Irvine Welsh’s take on the inner perfectionist. Not only does your internal criticism, break creative flow, it can exhaust you! If you have a hard time relinquishing control, try thinking in terms of compartments or parcels of perfection.

Write badly

What if writing badly led to good writing? This process works for Jennifer Egan:

I haven’t had trouble with writer’s block. I think it’s because my process involves writing very badly. My first drafts are filled with lurching, clichéd writing, outright flailing around. Writing that doesn’t have a good voice or any voice. But then there will be good moments. It seems writer’s block is often a dislike of writing badly and waiting for writing better to happen.

So in her case, she expects the opposite of perfection in order to get to the good moments. Her lack of concern for the initial quality probably allows her to take greater risks, and in her opinion, definitely limits any sort of writer’s block.

Silence the Inner Critic

So, take a step back before you judge your own work and try to be less concerned with writing an ideal scene or flawless dialogue in your story. This approach may help your creativity and lead to that perfect point in a roundabout kind of way.

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How do you tame your own inner critic?