Monday, July 25, 2005

Negative Voices - Part 1.

All writers are haunted by voices from the past.

Some of the voices are welcome guests who encourage us in our work. Other voices offer nothing but criticism and try to prevent us from working at all.

What's most infuriating is this: the more resistance a writer offers these critics, the more persistent the critics become!

It isn't long before the only voice a writer hears is the one telling her that she's not a writer at all but an imposter. Go back to law school! Start that catering business! Do anything, please, but don't write!

But here's the good news.

Whenever a hostile critic appears, it's usually a sign that a writer has reached an important spot in a story and the critic is getting nervous.

Perhaps you're exploring an old wound, or memories of an uncomfortable situation.

Or perhaps you're reaching into new emotional terrain and feel vulnerable.

Or perhaps you're writing about subjects that you feel you shouldn't be writing about.

The next time your critic knocks at the door and berates you for attempting to write, ask yourself what you're afraid of... because often the critic's voice is merely a way to mask your own fears.

What are some strategies that you've devised to thwart this critic? How do you silence the negative voices in your head?

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