You're not good enough...You have nothing to say...You'll never finish this, because you never finish anything...You lack what it takes to follow through...You should give up now because you're wasting your time...No one will ever read this...
And so on.
Vicious, nasty inner critics that have paralyzed my writing for days, weeks, sometimes even years. All based on one thing: Fear. Fear I'll never get published; fear that I will. Fear no one will read it; fear someone will. Fear it will be bad; fear it will be good. You name the inner conflict, I've felt it. And apparently, I'm not alone.
I've just finished reading a book on overcoming writer's block by Karen Peterson called "Write. 10 Days to Overcome Writer's Block. Period." In it, she promotes the idea that the left and right sides of our brains put out conflicting information when we're afraid of something, and gives some exercises to help figure out how to get around that, such as writing and answering certain questions using first our dominant hand, then the non-dominant hand to see where the conflict might lie. She also gave lists of things to check off, using alternating hands.
I really didn't expect to see different answers for the questions, but was astounded when I did the exercises: my left hand really didn't know what my right hand was doing!
For example, for months I've been plagued by the thought that I have nothing to say, therefore, I shouldn't write (not even blog - that's a big reason why my blogging has been so sporadic.) But when I checked off the lists of questions that included "I have nothing to say" and "I have so much to say I don't know where to start" I actually checked both - each with a different hand, and didn't realize it.
Using more information from the book, I delved a little deeper into that conflict, and realized that in fact, I have a LOT to say, but have been terrified of saying it; which is why for almost a year, I haven't said much of anything. I also realized where the source of that fear came from and have been able to smack it down.
It was quite an interesting exercise. I have a way to go yet, but found it helpful.
Meanwhile, to deal with that critic who keeps telling me I can never finish anything, I also took a long look through my hard drive. Yes, I did find 22 incomplete manuscripts. But I also found 11 completed. "Hah! Take THAT, inner critic!" Obviously, I can write a story from beginning to end.
Then on to the next lie: "You'll never get published and no one will ever read/like what you've written." For some reason, that's been a persistent belief, until I realized that I've only ever submitted 3 stories, and all three were published, and all three had strangers write to say they enjoyed them.
So, roll up your sleeves, it's time for the inner critic smackdown! Kick those doubters to the curb! What lies has your inner critic told you that you were able to prove wrong? And didn't you feel like Rocky when you knocked them out? :)