“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversation with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk." ~ Thomas Moore
It's not about "what if?" it's about "what to do when I’m sidelined by my inner critic(s)?" Here are ten things that I do and what I recommend you consider trying:
1. Make a list right now of your favorite five people who love and believe in you and will tell you the truth when you're being ridiculously pessimistic.
2. Keep their phone numbers by the phone and their emails next to your computer (and also saved in your cellphone, if you have one).
3. Use the above phone list or emails at least once a week to stay committed to the tasks that you have promised yourself.
4. Keeping your word to yourself builds self-esteem (integrity) and self-esteem helps you keep going when the going gets rough—when the naysayers/joy-busters in your mind (or life) get louder and meaner.
5. Avoid dream-bashers wherever they may hide. Too many times these are loved ones and family who feel afraid and, perhaps, a bit envious of your courage to "get out there" and risk not being liked by everybody.
6. Do one fun thing a day or writing will feel like a dreadful obligation that doesn't give back…this is a guaranteed obstacle that you can begin to plan for and, more importantly, avoid.
7. Reward yourself every 45-minutes that you are on the job of writing and publishing—have a cup of tea, a walk to the mailbox, a yoga stretch or two, make an appointment for a massage at the end of the week, or keep available frozen grapes and pop 'em in your mouth at various intervals. I've found this to be surprisingly satisfying, etc.
8. If you have trouble taking breaks, drink lots of water or other non-toxic liquids but do avoid alcohol while writing—most writers are orally-fixated and get sloppy and some have even fallen under the tyrant of alcoholism. Booze is often used to “get the juices flowing.” If you doubt this, take a look into the annals of literary history: think of Hemmingway, Faulkner, Capote, Fitzgerald, Sexton, Burroughs, etc.
9. Ask that inner critic what it needs. Say, “I see you and hear you. It sounds like you’re trying to protect me from being vulnerable or humiliated. Please tell me what you want me to know.” Then, like you’re talking to a three-year-old having a tantrum say, “I get that you’re upset and afraid. I totally understand that you want what you want NOW! And, today, we’re going to go home and make lunch together instead. I promise, you’ll feel so much better.” Get practice and watch what happens.
10. Commit to a good night's sleep—learn to hypnotize yourself or do a body scan, if that's what it takes. The reason to do this is that not only does it feel good for your whole body. It truly helps the creative juices flow.
What are some things you do to arrest that inner critic?