Last time, we talked about the dangers of ego regarding writing and creativity. Today, we’ll look at the opposite: the hazards of self-criticism and creativity.
Let’s get started.
Don’t Get Caught in the Downward Spiral
Negativity. Our world thrives on it. Death. War. Destruction. Evil. It seems as if we just can’t escape it, no matter how hard we try. And while we can’t eliminate the negative forces in our external world, we can do something to eliminate them internally.
Part of self-awareness is knowing when you bring those self-critical and negative thoughts into your mind that affect your ability to write and create. It’s easy to let one negative thought evolve into a string that causes you to avoid writing altogether. Allowing yourself to acknowledge the negative thought and then push it away is a great starting point to getting back at your writing and moving forward.
I know it can be challenging, but wallowing in self-criticism won’t help you. And while it’s good to reflect on ways to improve as a writer, you can’t use reflection as a force for negativity. Reflect, refresh, and write. That’s the best way to improve.
When You Frown, Write It Down
Negative thoughts can suck the life force out of you. So, when they pop up, write them in a journal. Then, use it as a writing exercise to explain why you feel this way. What is causing self-critical thought? How can you resolve it? I guarantee you that if it’s related to your writing or creativity, the best solution is to write.
If the negative thought is based on an aspect of writing you have difficulty with, it’s time to do some research. Instead of feeling bad that you are bad at writing dialogue or have difficulty with description, look up articles or videos that can help you take the necessary steps to improve. Take notes and use your newfound knowledge to practice this area of weakness.
Now you’re actively working on your writing and have turned those self-critical thoughts into something productive that will make you a better writer.
The Perils of Procrastination
Yes, the couch or your bed is inviting. Yes, the final season of Barry is now available to binge. And the world is on fire, so why don’t I just lay down and give up?
Procrastination is one of the easiest activities to do. It takes no effort, takes up tons of time, and requires zero skill.
But you have a story to write, and allowing yourself to get trapped in an endless cycle of YouTube videos or pointless social media arguments isn’t getting you any further in your story.
Relaxing is fine, but when you do it to avoid something else, it becomes a problem. Part of being a self-aware writer is knowing when you procrastinate for the wrong reasons. If you are doing it to avoid writing, ask yourself why. Have you hit a challenging part of the story or the process you are actively avoiding? Did something happen that has thrown your day off and caused you to lose focus?
As I talked about in the last section, write it out. Journaling about your problems can be a great starting point for finding the solution you seek. And journaling about the problem is an active way to solve it and gets you back to writing instead of mindlessly doom scrolling on your phone.
Utilizing self-awareness as a fiction writer is one thing, but how does one use it when writing non-fiction? Ah, we’ll discuss that coming up.
Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!