Self-talk Personified


Starting this blog has pushed my buttons, sent my Inner Critic on a rampage. I have always struggled with this negative inner voice commenting on what I am doing. You know, the usual, “What you are doing is stupid drivel. Why bother? What you have to say is meaningless and unimportant. What’s the point? You are wasting your time. Who cares what you think.” And on and on and blah, blah, blah. This Inner Critic of mine is alive and kicking and beating me bloody. It never fails to stop me in my tracks time and again. Once it stops me cold then it calls me lazy for not following through. Basically I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

Pushing on in spite of this haranguing is difficult. A couple of years back I worked with a writing coach, Emily Hanlon and she taught me about a concept to counter the Inner Critic and that is the Inner Writer. Emily Hanlon encouraged me to dialogue with my Inner Writer to get guidance on dealing with the Inner Critic. I looked through my journals and found just such a dialogue.

The date is November 3, 2007. The entry in my journal starts with a sort of letter to my Inner Writer.

Dear Inner Writer
Well, I wrote today and I am at least writing my quota of 1,000 words a day. Each time I write I feel like I am not living up to my previous writing. So like Emily suggested I am asking you, what do you think?

Dear Janice, I feel your unrest. I think that as time goes on it will lessen. What is the Inner Critic saying to you?

(This is where I leave off with the letter writing style. I will add tags to help with clarification)

Me: Inner Critic, what are you saying?

I.C: This writing of yours is useless. You’re wasting your time you know. Why bother with it. It’s aimless babbling. What’s your point? I don’t see a point. Once again, I think you’re wasting your time.

Me: Inner Writer, did you hear that? What do you think about that?

I.W: The Inner Critic can’t see the big picture. When someone starts to build a house and the first step is to make a big hole for the basement, should the workers stop building because it doesn’t look like a house. Just keep writing. It will take shape just like the house will.

Me: That’s cool. Thank you Inner Writer.

That is cool. Now looking back I can see that the positive aspect of myself is, well, wise. I would love to say that I followed this advice but sad to say I never finished that project I was working on. I succumbed to the I.C. and abandoned it. For now, I will get back to this concept of the Inner Writer helping me deal with the Inner Critic because it looks like the Inner Critic isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

After doing a search on the Inner Critic I found an interesting article in all of places The Wall Street Journal. There are many ways to help deal with an Inner Critic and no matter what endeavor one chooses I think dealing with your Inner Critic is critical.

Image from 123RF

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8 responses to “Self-talk Personified

  1. You remind me exactly of me! I didn’t start listening to my inner writer until about the time I turned 50.(I turn 60 in 2 weeks). I always wanted to write ~ for as long as I can remember but I listened to everybody else but myself. You know like “there’s no money in it”, “you’re really not that good”, blah blah blah. So I abandoned writing and in so many ways I abandoned my essential self as well. But the time arrived and I forged forward, though it’s been far from a straight path and I’ll never regret it for a second.

    I have two suggestions from my own experience that might help you. First, if you haven’t read Martha Beck’s “Finding Your North Star” and “Steering by Starlight” I highly recommend them. She talks extensively about our inner critic. I read them and then bought the audio version which I listened to on and off for a couple of years ~ there’s so much info and it’s hard to do everything she suggests all at once. The second thing is to write. Just write. The more you write, the better you’ll get and the more your voice will come out AND the more confidence you’ll gain in your writing ability. The little I’ve read here I can say with certainty that you are a writer and you can do with it whatever your heart desires.

    I’m glad you stopped by my blog so I could visit yours!

    • Thank you for the suggestion of those books. They sound good. I found them both at the library. I’ll start there first. I have four memoirs that i wrote on Hub pages. I know you are write about the just writing thing. Too keep the flow I am journaling for 10 min a day like what Julie Cameron says in The Artist’s Way. I think she call it the morning pages. And it is nice to meet you.

  2. I believe we all have an inner critic whether the criticism is of writing, or cooking, or living your life. The struggle is to learn to listen to a new tape; the one that tell us we are good because we are trying. It is all about the journey. If you don’t start off a novice and go to expert, where is the pride in the growth. We are struggling, but we are basically going forward. Isn’t that what we’re here for? I think life is about being the best we can be. The journey never ends and I think that is the fun of it all. There are many who don’t understand that and just stay stagnant. I am so proud of you.

    • I do believe you are on to something there Donna. I love your comment about starting out as a novice and working to expert, although aiming for reasonably good will work for me also. Yes, the journey is where it’s at. Thanks for you insightful thoughts. I shall remember them in times of need. and that will be, like most of the time 🙂

  3. Who does your artwork?

  4. I want to say good for you for working with that inner critic and for not giving up. And I’m going to read Finding Your Own North Star too!

  5. “Once it stops me cold then it calls me lazy for not following through.”

    I know this feeling too well in my design. I could keep going and going creating stuff that my IC hates, but if I stop I’m not trying hard enough to make things better.

    Great post!

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