Blog, Memories and Memoirs, National Association of Memoir Writers

Tips to Break Through Your Inner Critic Voices

Silenced

If you are writing a memoir, or even a novel, and wonder how you can break through the inner critic that silences you, this is a perfect moment to move forward and get unstuck.

As a memoir writer, I know how tough it is to confront the forbidden stories and write them down. Once voice says, “Go ahead, it’s the truth,” while another says “You can’t say that, it’s rude.” Or “What will people think if they know these things about me?” Or the real stinger, “They might get mad at me. They might accuse me of lying.”

You have your own list of what your inner critic says.

Typical Inner Critic messages:

  • I don’t know how to write.
  • Who cares about my story anyway?
  • I’m too self-involved.
  • What difference does it make if I write my
  • story?
  • Maybe I’m making it all up.
  • My family will never speak to me again if I write that.
  • This is boring

Family and friends are the “Outer Critics.” These are some of their voices:

  • You’re writing a memoir?
  • For heaven’s sake, must you air the family laundry?
  • Don’t you dare write that while we’re alive!
  • You think you have a right to these stories?
  • Don’t darken our door if your write about
  • that
  • .It didn’t happen that way!
  • All you can do is think about the past!

 

TIP: The best thing to do with your list is to write it down and get it out of your head. Then argue back with it. Answer each doubt that is raised, work on affirmations like, “This is my story. I have a right to tell it.”

TIP: In your first draft you can spill out the whole story. No one knows what you are writing until you share it. Sharing should be done carefully! You want to keep up your story energy all the way through your first draft.

TIP: Write out as many affirmations as you can think of and put them on your wall. They might be phrases like this:

  • The words that flow are good, just right for that day.
  • I will protect my writing from naysayers, including myself.
  • Each paragraph I write gives me strength and forward
  • motion.
  • Every scene I write helps me to find a new perspective
  • and joy in my life.
  • When I learn new skills, I am energized and excited
  • about my writing.
  • I look forward to my writing time.
  • I honor and preserve my time to write

These practices about the critic voices may need to be repeated as you write your book. I used to have a vile, abusive inner critic that kept me silent for months at a time, but I kept returning to these exercises, I kept working on my story bit by bit as I tried to free myself. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping you learn to break through and write your stories.

–Keep writing

Linda Joy

 

 

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