writing

7 STRATEGIES TO SHUT DOWN YOUR INNER CRITIC SO YOU CAN WRITE YOUR BOOK

The One Person Stopping You From Writing A Novel

There’s a gatekeeper – someone in charge of your writing process – that’s holding you back, telling you that you’re never going to finish your book, and even if you do it won’t be good. No matter how hard you work, they’ve got some new reason you should just quit, give up on your writing hobby, and focus on something else.

Isn’t that terrible? But the worst part is: that person is you.

The one person constantly criticizing your story, nagging you to give up, and telling you that your dream isn’t good enough is you. While it may be a relief to find out that all you have to do to get that person to shut up and let you keep writing is to stop yourself from tearing down your own process, it’s easier said than done.

How To Shut Up Your Inner Critic So You Can Write Your Book

It’s really hard to change a bad habit, especially when it comes to being critical of yourself. And the act of really critiquing your own behaviors and habits serves a very good purpose – it can allow you to reflect on yourself and become a better, more productive person.

 

Here are seven healthy habits you can adopt, which can prevent self-sabotage. It starts with being proactive about your mental space, but includes some real-life tips on how to politely address a stubborn inner critic that’s preventing you from writing.

 

1.     Set realistic goals for what you’re able to achieve. Then congratulate yourself on making good on your word as you finish those small goals. If something is too daunting, break it down into smaller parts (see my post on micro goals). Instead of saying, “Today, I will write my book,” which you know is impossible, you can say, “Today, I am going to list ten unique quirks for my main character, and write a 500 word description.”

2.     Start writing! Get the words out of your head, and start writing. If you begin with a description of what you want to write, that will kick off the process of actually writing your book. Anything that helps you actually write down any element of your story, and take it from your head to the screen, or paper, is another step toward completion.

3.     Don’t Compare yourself to other writers. Your rough draft is never going to be as good as their completed, edited, polished book. It’s the same as looking at someone’s highlight reel on their social media, and thinking that your life isn’t nearly as interesting as all your friends. Comparison is the thief of joy.

4.     Revisit and revise your goals. You can’t know what your future self is, or is not capable of. But you can look at your progress and see if you’re setting goals that are too easy, or unachievable. Go back and edit your goals, so you can set new ones. Set stretch goals in case you crush your easy goals early, and set fallback goals if you set a challenging goal for yourself.

5.     Write about stuff you love! Your motivation to finish what you write will dwindle if you don’t love writing it. If you’re not enjoying the process, and writing is tedious, it could be because you don’t like what you’re writing. That doesn’t mean it’s bad writing, but if you don’t like writing it, who is going to like reading it? If you can evaluate your interest level before you take on a massive project, this one key factor will keep you writing when you want to quit.

6.     Treat yourself well. Your mind is deeply tied in to the physical function of your body, including diet, and exercise. Don’t forget to take writing breaks to go move around, it could lead to some really good ideas. And if you’re tempted to reach for junk foods for a quick fix, it might give you a quick rush of energy, but will ultimately make you lethargic, and unproductive. Plan your meals like you plot your book for maximum effectiveness. Try to make some good foods in advance, so when you need to eat, you won’t spend a lot of creative time cooking – or use it as a break for your eyes, fingers and back.

7.     Edit afterwards. If you go into your draft knowing that you will set aside time when you’re done to make edits, then you can just keep cranking out words without wondering if they are cohesive. To stop myself from self-editing, or getting distracted, I will write something like: [INSERT CLEVER JOKE HERE], or [RESEARCH THE HISTORY OF HOW RICE GROWS AND FACT CHECK]. It helps me easily find places I will need to edit when I come back, and more importantly it allows me to just keep writing in the moment, without opening Google and getting lost down some online rabbit hole.

 

If all else fails, then stop writing. Just take a break, walk away from the page, and go do something else. When your head is clear, come back to it from a new perspective.

Were these tips useful? We would love to hear from you, so drop us a comment below about how YOU keep your inner critic at bay.

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Write Your Book In 5 Minutes A Day Using Micro Goals

Turn Your Big, Lofty Goals Into Small, Doable Micro Goals

I dream big.

Sometimes I can see people enjoying my books, laughing, and sharing how amazing it is, before I’ve even written the first word.

So then when it’s time for me to sit down and write the book, it’s intimidating thinking about everything. I’m picturing the editing process, the cover, the marketing, the emails, building my author platform, pitching an agent, and going to a book signing – when what I really need to be doing is writing the first word, the first sentence, the first paragraph.

Does that sound like you?

I did something today that really helped me out. I have about 20 REALLY GOOD ideas for books, and they’re all in various stages of completion. That doesn’t even include my document with hundreds of snippets of concepts, titles, and genre books I would love to write.

It’s too much.

So I chose my three favorite ideas, and then thought to myself, what can I start working on specifically? I can’t just ‘work on my book,’ I need to dig deeper and work on one element of the process. That way, I can realistically get something done on it every day. So here’s what I came up with:

Break Up Your Big Project Into Tiny, Easy Steps

 

I chose my three best book projects which are not related. That way I can work on all three of them simultaneously without taking my time away from the other ones. If I get stuck on one project I can keep working on the others.

Then I tried to break the next steps of what I was able to do for each book into different activities that would take anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. Here’s what I did:

 

1.     My YA fiction novel reboot of “Treasure Island”

I finished writing this book two years ago, and have been editing and re-writing since then. I’ve had feedback from a few agents, and am still editing.

Micro Goals added:

+ Find one agent that represents this type of book
+ Craft a pitch letter to one agent, and send it
+ Re-read one chapter, and copy-edit with Track Changes
+ Research Similar Books
+ Read one chapter of a similar book

2.     A non-fiction series with an epic marketing strategy

I came up with an incredible marketing strategy, and concept for a series of non-fiction books which are in my field of post-graduate work. My big problem has been that I’ve researched the books, and just need to write them now.

Micro Goals added:

+ Break the books into smaller sections
+ Work on one page from one section
+ Add one element to the outline of the books
+ Draw one picture to add into one section of the books
+ Add five people to a list of people I will directly market the book to

3.     Dark the Shark, a children’s picture book that I’ve written and illustrated.

I came up with the idea three years ago, and jotted down a few rough notes, for fun. Then I decided to write the story, and pushed on to illustrate the entire thing. Now that it’s outlined, I know I need to add color and decide if I want to crowd source this book, self-publish, or pitch to an agent.

Micro Goals added:

+ Color one page of the book.
+ Take one colored page and use it to pitch one agent.
+ Ask one other writer to read my 400 word story
+ Check out one similar book at the library for inspiration
+ Read that book to my daughter
+ Go through and edit the book again


Ultimately, these small steps will get me closer to the goal of finishing each project. The best part is, I can do one of these small steps for one of my projects every day, no matter how busy it gets. And if I have time, I can go through a number of micro goals, and feel very accomplished.

As I achieve these goals, I feel more inspired, and more able to achieve even more. When some of the goals are checked off, I discover where I can add more.

How Can Micro Goals Work For You?

 

Okay, now it’s your turn. How can you break your book up into micro goals, so that you can actively work on it every day, no matter how strapped you are for time?

 

Try to clearly define each small doable step, and make sure you congratulate yourself for taking one small step closer to finishing your work!

Did this blog post help you? Share what micro goals you’re working on today!

 

***Any links on this page are products or services I am proudly affiliated with, because they really offer you something of value!***