Writers, I won’t have to introduce you to your inner critic. I’m sure he or she (or maybe “it” if you’re a horror writer) has reared his/her/its ugly head for you a thousand times already and whispered these sweet nothings to you: “This sucks.”
“You spent a year writing this?”
“No one will pay 10 cents to read this.”
“Don’t quit your day job.”
And unsuccessful writers listen to every one of these statements from their inner critics and then fulfill these prophecies. So, if you’re reading this series to find out how to be unsuccessful and not sell books, turn the volume up on your best friend, the inner critic. You should be doing things like other unsuccessful writers, such as:
- Re-writing the first 10 pages of your book and laboriously pouring over every word, never writing chapter 2.
- Self-publishing your book, but never telling anyone you know that you did this, and definitely NOT mentioning it on social media because your inner critic says it’s a one star book at best.
- My ultimate favorite inner critic move is this one, and there’s evidence on my laptop–I love starting several manuscripts, including novel-length works, and never finishing them or sending them out to the world because my inner critic convinces me NO ONE wants to read this.
Your inner critic is strong. He or she might have even grown stronger as the Internet and Social Media are in our faces daily. We see what happens to people who dare to put their writing out into the world.
So really, isn’t your inner critic just trying to protect you from those 1-star Amazon reviews or sleepless nights wondering why you didn’t listen to her/him more?
Unsuccessful writers always listen to their inner critics and don’t make progress on their work.
For you overachiever writers who want to be successful:
- Kick that inner critic to the curb and find some supportive, but honest, critique partners or beta readers. Everyone needs some constructive criticism to improve their work, no matter what you write. But you also need cheerleaders and other writers who will kick your butt a little when you are being whiny and channeling your inner critic. You might also need these partners to help you get rid of that ugly voice inside of you, and most writers will be happy to help you push him or her over a ledge.
- Finish your drafts. I’m not suggesting that everything you write will be brilliant, but everyone’s first draft is rubbish. If you spend anytime listening to famous writers and learning about their history of rejections or their writing process, you will see that whether you are a household name or a starving writer, you have to revise. So finish your first drafts and perfect revising. Your inner critic is only helpful if he or she makes you a better writer–and that is only during the revision process. Let your first draft out with no criticism.