3 Signs the Inner Critic Has Sabotaged Your Writing and What to Do about It

FishEvery writer has the voice of their inner critic somewhere inside their head. It might be a judgmental parent, or a toxic friend, or even someone from a long-ago writing group who made one hurtful comment about your story that stuck with you forever.

We all know the inner critic when that voice shows up.

The problem is that we don’t know what to do about it.

The reason most writers can’t conquer the inner critic on their own is because it’s impossible to see around your own perspective. You can’t get outside of your own head. This is why our beliefs and the way we feel about ourselves shape so much of our experience. We only have one pair of eyes to see out of, and no matter which way we swivel our vision, we’re using the same two eyeballs.

You know your inner critic has taken over your writing life if:

You write in small amounts and then pick those sections apart until you want to cry.

You go for long periods of time without writing and feel massive guilt about it.

When you’re writing—or reading something over that you’ve written—you hear the inner critic loud and clear telling you everything that’s wrong with you as a writer.

It is possible to make a shift and strengthen your confidence to the point where the voice of your inner critic fades, or even falls silent for long periods of time. During these periods you can get some serious writing work done, like writing-an-entire-novel serious.

But you can’t do it alone.

That’s where coaching comes in. Much of the work I do with writers focuses on finding the part of the writer that knows they are a writer and knows they can do it. The part that knows they have it in them to write a book. We use methods that replace the voice of the inner critic with the writer’s own true voice, the unique expression of themselves as a creative being. And we do it together, my help reassuring the hesitant writer that they have a constant advocate.

Some of the tools we use are:

Weekly timed sessions of non-stop writing to make sure writers write, and don’t stop to reread or edit

Exploration exercises that help characters come out and play on the page

Phone calls or Skype sessions in which writers can unburden themselves of every fear and worry nagging at them and get support and advice

My role as a “first reader” for writers who need feedback or encouragement to keep going

Coaching includes all this and more. Every writer is unique and has different creative needs. I gently work with each writer to come up with a solid plan to get them writing and actually feeling good about what comes out on the page.

If you’re interested in coaching, you can find more info here:


Or you can email me at writecitysf@gmail.com to set up a free consultation. Consultations come with no expectations and if you decide not to sign up for coaching at the end of our session, that is totally fine. I love talking to writers no matter what the outcome and consider every minute worth it.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want read:

Why Do Some Writers Have So Much Trouble Actually Writing

What Is Coaching and Why I Do It

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