5 Ways to Deal With Your Inner Literary Critic

Literary critics can be harsh, but often our toughest critics are ourselves. How can you learn to live with, and maybe even learn from, your own self-doubt? We have five tips to help you turn criticism and negativity into a positive writing experience.

1) Remember there is no “right” way to write

The most successful writers are those with their own unique viewpoint. If your writing style doesn’t align with your favourite author’s or with what your creative writing teacher suggests, it doesn’t mean it’s not good. Just keep working on developing your style – the only wrong way to write is not to do it at all.

2) Get a second opinion

Just like you wouldn’t listen to only one literary critic and base your entire career around their opinion, you can’t rely solely on your own feedback. Showing your work to trusted confidantes like friends, family or a mentor is a great way to hear how different people experience it. Then you can make adjustments based on a less subjective response.

3) Learn from the mistakes of others

If you’re ever feeling down about your writing success (or lack thereof), read a few famous rejection letters for a quick pick-me-up. There are very few famous writers who met with instant success or universal praise, so don’t expect that from yourself, either. What’s important is that you learn from your setbacks and keep moving forward.

4) Skip over the opening sentence

The opening sentence is one of the most important parts of any piece of writing. So it makes sense that you would put extra time and energy into crafting the best hook you can. Often that means you will agonise over that first sentence at the expense of the rest of the story. If you don’t have that perfect opening line from the moment you sit down to write – that’s ok! You don’t have to write your story perfectly from beginning to end, so feel free to develop the rest of your work before putting the final touches on the introduction.

5) Loosen up

You know the children’s saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? Well, it remains true for writers. Writing isn’t an unimportant venture, but it’s also not life or death. If you are unhappy with the way your project or career is going, take a break! Go for a walk, watch a movie, get crafty, chat with a friend – whatever it takes to get you out of your head and living life again. You’ll be surprised how much more naturally the writing flows when it’s not the thing you’re focussed on.

How do you deal with your inner critic?

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