Writing can be therapeutic.
Here's a simple exercise which will help you to kill your inner critic when you don't want him or her around.
Yes, you need your inner critic during the editing process, but when you're drafting and writing, the critic should shut up. In "Writing reality: writing is a process" I said:
Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Your first draft of anything you write should always be awful, nonsensical, and all but unintelligible.
If you're a new writer, or are an established writer who's never learned to manage your inner critic, this exercise will help.
Write a letter to your inner critic, describing five ways in which your inner critic is damaging your writing.
Start the letter with "Dear Inner Critic: I know you want what's best for me, but you're ruining my writing and my life in these five ways."
How I created the exercise, and its effects
I created this exercise for one of my mentoring students. He's a terrific writer, but he was writing very little because he used to find writing torture. His inner critic was totally in charge.
For example, when I asked him to do a five minute free writing exercise and send me the results, his writing was anything but free. He couldn't be spontaneous - he was editing in his head.
His inner critic wouldn't let him write naturally. It insisted on getting into the act. I devised the "letter to your inner critic" exercise to help him to understand that his inner critic had an Off switch. Whenever he wished to, he could communicate with his inner critic, and turn it off.
The result? My young writer friend found that he was much more creative. He found writing fun, and wrote more. He started to sell, and is working on his third book. He's on great terms with his inner critic, who now only shows up when he's invited to, during the editing process.
I commend this exercise to you -- try it.
Recession-proof your freelance writing career
"Write More And Make More Money From Your Writing: Develop A Fast, Fun Productive Writing Process" gives you all the tools you need for a thriving writing career, no matter what the economic climate.
Three weeks after completing the class one student wrote:
"Thanks Angela, for all your help and advice in class. I'm quitting my job next week. I printed out my letter of resignation tonight after landing a contract writing job that will pay me more for three months part-time work than I earned in from my day job in the whole of 2007! You were right – the great gigs are out there, and now I've got the skills to land them. Your class opened my eyes. Bless you…"
"Write More And Make More Money From Your Writing: Develop A Fast, Fun Productive Writing Process" shows you how to thrive as a freelance writer. Would you like to write five times more than you're writing now, and sell to higher-paying markets? Take the class.