I have my fair share of bullies. I’m not talking about the kids who called me names, spread ugly lies, and took every chance to make fun of me at school. I’m talking about the mean-spirited voice I often hear in my head. This voice tries to scare me into inaction based on its negative comments. It tells me untruths such as, “You’re not good enough, clever enough, or even deserving enough to produce a decent piece of writing.” Most writers call this voice writer’s block. I call it my inner bully.
Inner bullies aren’t real but they can nonetheless hinder us from taking chances, grabbing opportunities, and fulfilling our writing goals. So I thought I would share a few tips on how to beat the inner bullies/writer’s block and move on to achieving a more rewarding writing experience:
The first step to getting rid of your inner bully is learning to recognize its voice. When your thoughts are negative, limiting, or self-sabotaging, it’s most likely your bully talking.
When you can, write down the negative statements your bully is making. The good news is that bullies aren’t very creative, so they will often use the same “catch phrases” repeatedly. That’s why keeping a written record of them helps. You’ll recognize the “catch phrase” and be better equipped to reject its message.
Each time you hear a negative statement, ask yourself, “Is this absolutely true?” Bullies are convinced that their view is the undeniable truth. You don’t have to prove them wrong. All you have to do is question the veracity of their statement, which will slow down their momentum and put you back in the driver’s seat, writing at full speed again.
These are three very simple but quite effective tools to help you banish your inner bully. In time, it will become easier to recognize and silence your bully. You will also notice that when it does pop up, it won’t have the same incapacitating effect on you as it once had. Believe me, I speak from experience.
The world of publishing is no bed of roses. Try to remember what you’ve accomplished. Even if you’ve never been published, you’ve written something that is important and meaningful to you. If it matters to you, that’s an accomplishment. So, don’t forget to give yourself the praise you deserve! And, remember, a professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.
I'm not quitting. I'm still a very much an unheard of author. But I keep writing. My motto is, "Think big, start small, and keep going."
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