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"Writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all.” -Charles Bukowski
In any creative profession, writing included, negative self-talk can be devastating to your projects. The inner voice that attempts to criticize your writing capabilities at every turn can cause writer’s block, procrastination, and poor project outcomes.
Each of these outcomes can throw a wrench in the inner wheels of your career as a freelance writer. Maintaining the creative flow is necessary for successful writing and, if not kept in check, your inner critic can slam the door on that flow in an instant.
Use these five tried-and-trusted strategies to fight your inner critic and keep the creative juices flowing.
1. Acknowledge Negative Self-Talk
The first step to successfully defeat any opponent is to acknowledge and study them. Once you recognize that the negative self-talk is there, you can begin to carefully observe it.
In your observations, ask yourself:
- What types of statements is this voice making?
- Is there a direct assault to my skills as a writer or my value as a person?
- Do these thoughts provide any value to the work I am doing?
- What harm comes from the negative self-talk taking place?
- Am I willing to work on making changes to my thought process?
Any non-constructive attacks are coming directly from the ego, and need to be throttled right away.
Know that these attacks are not helpful to your productivity and do your best to let them go.
2. Think of the Inner Critic as an Editor
Embrace the inner voice, as some of what it says holds value when it comes to writing. That narrator inside your mind has been with you since you learned to read; now that you’re a writing professional, some of what it says can be used to help you.
All writers need the help of an editor from time to time, and thinking of that critic as an editor can help you make the progress you need to complete your projects.
The voice can help you with grammar, choice of vocabulary, punctuation, and word flow if you let it. Acknowledge what’s useful, and trash the rest.
As long as your editor is an asset, you can keep him on board; it’s best to keep anything of value and trash the rest.
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3. Reframe the Situation
When looking at the message your inner critic is sending, are you having any hindering emotions about otherwise constructive statements? If so, you can reframe these affirmations to transform them into positives.
In order to do this, you must first know which type of statements work for you, and make you feel motivated. This experience will be entirely personal, since people are inspired by different feelings.
What drives some can completely stifle others.
Think about what thought structure works for you, and how you can reword the otherwise constructive statements to fit into that frame. Reframing can totally transform your thought process for great results.
4. Create a New Mantra
Is there a specific set of words you keep hearing that suffocate your ability to communicate effectively in your writing? Have you tried everything you can think of to get it out of your mind?
Try coming up with a new mantra to drown it out.
If your inner critic keeps telling you that you do not know how to do something, say, with confidence inside the comfort of your mind, that you do. Repeat it to yourself often. Eventually, you will start to believe it, and that initial statement you were trying to remove will begin to disappear.
5. Abolish the Negative Self-Talk Through NLP
Neurolinguistics programming (NLP) is an effective tool for combating any type of negative thinking and often leads to more fulfilling experiences in all areas of life. There are dozens of NLP techniques you can try that will be helpful when looking seriously at your inner critic.
One of the most common techniques, anchoring, is when you anchor a thought or set of thoughts to an action, emotion, or an object. In the case of writing, it could be helpful to anchor your inner voice’s words to an act related to your writing.
Playing around with different NLP techniques and finding what works for you is a good idea.
Through utilizing one or more of these strategies, you should be able to effectively battle your inner critic and find that writing flow once again. The results will be reflected in the improved writing that you begin to produce.
Florence Mendoza is a content writer and marketing manager at Buy an Essay company. She provides online marketing consultations to beginner bloggers.