How You Can Silence Your Inner Critic

Do you ever second guess your decision to be a writer?

You’re not alone. I do too. And I have a feeling there are many more writers who do, too.

Maybe you’re frustrated because you’ve read books on writing to perfect the craft, gone to writer’s conferences, pitched agents, met your weekly writing quotas, started a blog, learned how to FB and tweet, but you still don’t have an agent or a publisher. All you have is a file of rejection slips.

Your inner critic say things like, maybe no one wants to read my lame stories anyway,  or, maybe I should do something else with my time that brings in a pay check.

In the “author” business it’s common for writers to focus on ONLY getting published. But there’s more involved in reaching this goal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s my dream, too. But stop and enjoy the ride. Published authors say that once you’re published there’s huge pressure to perform. There are tighter deadlines, greater demands.

Are you ready for that?

Some days my inner critic can become too noisy.  (See his red photo above? Scary creature, isn’t he?) He slams me up against the wall and tells me my writing sucks. (He can be a violent dude.) And for a few minutes he knocks the wind out of me. But then I take a deep breath, a coffee break, or (most of the time it’s a candy break), and rethink my journey. I rewire the way I think and knock that inner critic off my shoulder, killing him with positive thoughts.

Here are a few tips that could help you stay positive:

Step back from your journey. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the moment, in the negative, that we don’t take time to re-evaluate. What were your writing goals for the past year, the past month? Did you meet those goals? Did you surpass them?

Cec Murphey once said to his non-ficiton writing class, “You’re as good a writer as you’re going to be RIGHT NOW, at this point in your career.” Take time to appreciate where you are in the process.

Remind yourself of your purpose. Why is writing a dream? What made you begin your writing journey? Was it a passion? Is it still a passion? Are you having fun? If it’s still a passion, find ways to rekindle that passion.

Reflect on your achievements and how much you’ve learned. Evaluate where you were six months ago. Take time to notice how much you’ve accomplished, how you’ve grown as a writer. Right now your work might not be measurable with a sold book deal, but what about the people you’ve met, how your writing has improved, how much you’ve learned?

Re-inspire yourself. Read a book, play your favorite music, watch a movie. Sometimes taking a break helps trigger our writing muse.

Don’t be discouraged. Think of the R words:  Reevaluate, Remind, Reflect, Re-inspire, Rekindle
Which R word works the best for you?



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  1. Anna says:

    Thank you. I guess I needed to hear that 😉

    • Hi Anna,
      It feels good to know that others have an noisy inner critic, too, doesn’t it? Some days are worse than others.
      I hope I’ve encouraged you!

  2. Thanks Michelle. I need to write it down and post it above my keyboard.

    • Hi Lillian! Keep writing and remembering why you’re doing this. Make your mess your message and help others who need to hear your stories.

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