One of the things that’s held me back from writing is the critic telling me what’s not good enough.
Sometimes this can paralyze you while writing. Other times it can paralyze you before you even start.
There is no magic trick to getting past this. It’s about finding what works for you. That means trying different methods. Some that work for me are:
- Barge through it: force yourself to write, even while that voice is saying it’s terrible.
- Write about something else: that’s what brought me to writing this post! Switching to a different project or starting a new one can help. Although be on the lookout. If you do this everytime you may never get to finishing any project. Although if you keep drifting away from one thing, check in with yourself to see if that’s really what you want to be writing.
- Brain dump: I’ve mentioned this before, but just writing what is in your head. Especially thoughts that are stopping you. Argue with that voice directly. Build up mental tools for short circuiting it.
- Refill the well: you can’t write forever. I’ll discuss this later too, but the term comes from The Artist’s Way. Doing something fun, creative, or reading something enjoyable are good ways to take a break that can also recharge that creative font. And chances are you’ll come back to your writing with an even better perspective on it. I know I usually have a breakthrough on some facet of a story I’m working on when I take a step back from it.
Save worry about quality for your second draft. Instead, strive to get stuff down onto paper. Worry about perfection later.