Everyone has it. That little voice inside them that tells them that they're no good. That they better not even try at all because their efforts will be fruitless. When I interviewed Margaret Stohl a few months ago, she told me how she once went on a writing tour with many "wise writers". She asked them, "At what point did you stop saying that you're a bad writer?"
They responded: "We'll tell you when that happens."
"Everyone I know feels the hater. No one is immune," she said to me.
Yes, I can tell you right away that despite having written professionally since I was 18 or 19 (I started stringing for The Star and was a freelance copywriter while I was in college), that "hater" is still whispering things to me. It's always telling me to stop trying. To just give up and forget about this "writing thing".
Yes, everybody has an inner critic. The difference is whether you give it power to paralyse you.
For many years I gave my inner hater too much power. I listened to it. I agreed with it. It took a personal crisis to shake me out of my stupor. And I found myself asking myself, "Why the hell am I listening to it, really?"
I told the inner critic, "Thanks for your input. But I am going ahead anyway."
And I begin to find my wings again. I dared to dream once more.
So, just tell your inner critic to shut it. You're going to benefit from it, trust me.
This post was originally published in Jan 22, 2012. Due to floods of comment spam I'm republishing some of my old posts rather than delete a comment at a time. Old is gold as they say!