How to Turn Your Harshest Judge into Your Biggest Writing Ally
We all have an inner critic when it comes to our writing. Even the most experienced authors spend time questioning their work before submitting it or putting it out into the world. This little voice in your head can be both helpful and harmful depending on how you approach it. By embracing your inner critic, you’ll actually improve your writing in many ways that will serve you well as you develop as an author. Here are five reasons why you should embrace your inner critic as a writer.
Your Inner Critic Can Offer Constructive Criticism
If you’re not already aware of your inner critic, listen for that nagging voice in your head that tells you your work isn’t good enough. It may seem counter-intuitive to embrace something that seems so negative. But, if you listen to what your inner critic has to say, you might be surprised that what at first seems negative can actually provide some valuable feedback and suggestions for improvement. For example, perhaps your inner critic says one paragraph is too long; you can see if this criticism is correct by adjusting it and seeing what happens.
Your Inner Critic Helps You Be Honest With Yourself
Your inner critic is there to help you get better. It’s not out to get you; it’s an essential tool that’s like your writing conscience. After all, how can you improve if you don’t know what needs improving? When it comes to your work, consider any criticism that you receive honestly, especially if it’s coming from somewhere in your own head. In fact, one of your most important habits as a writer is knowing when it’s time to listen to your inner critic and digging deeper into what could be holding back progress.
Your Inner Critic Should Be a Development Tool
Remember that your inner critic exists to help you grow and develop; it’s not an enemy you have to fight, but rather the part of yourself that’s striving to be the best possible writer. Receive its criticism graciously and thank your inner critic for helping you develop your writing. Never take its opinions too personally, but also let it keep you trying new things in your work. Your inner critic may be vocal about your failures, but without this critical voice, you wouldn’t strive to be a better writer than you are now.
Your Inner Critic Helps You Figure Out What Works Best For You
Embracing your inner critic as a development tool is key to developing your writing skills. After all, nobody is actually going to tell you how to become a great writer. What works for each writer has to be figured out on one’s own. The good news is that your inner critic knows you better than anyone else, an unconscious force that forces you to ask yourself honest questions about your writing process. While many writers admit being afraid of criticism, the hardest type of criticism usually comes from the inner critic. You’d be surprised how many great writers often let their own inner critics cripple them, rather than having an honest conversation with them. Our own mind knows how we work best, and the more honest we are with what our inner critic is telling us, the more successful we’ll be at harnessing the most power from our writing talents.
Your Inner Critic Can Help You Identify Low Self-Esteem Issues
Everyone’s inner critic manifests in different ways, and some are more vocal than others. But, one of its primary functions is to make us aware of our own flaws and short-comings. Many often treat this kind of self-criticism negatively rather than productively. In fact, your inner critic can also help you to get over low self-esteem issues. For example, if you’re experiencing writer’s block due to anxiety over your work, take a step back and examine why you’re having these feelings. Chances are, it’s not that your writing isn’t good enough; it means that you have an opportunity to make it better.
Learning how to let go of your negativity involves embracing criticism, not just from others, but from within yourself. Constructive criticism helps improve all areas of your writing, from punctuation, grammar, word choices, to storytelling techniques. The more critical you are of yourself, and others are of you, the better your skills will become in creating effective communication. You just need to keep the criticism from impacting you negatively. The ability to accept criticism constructively and productively is key to becoming a great writer. It’s also not that hard if you don’t take every critique personally!
We’re often our own worst critics, sure, but we should think of our inner critic not as an enemy, but as a teacher. Chances are you’ll learn more from what doesn’t make sense than from what does. Allow your inner critic to be a valuable ally, as it may know you better than you know yourself.