Trust Your Instincts

You know the panic you feel as you put words to page? That unstoppable, chest burning, paralyzing fear that turns you into a seeming wax figure, fingers poised above the keyboard but never typing a single stroke? Of course you do, you’re a writer. I just want to assure you that this feeling is normal. Every writer experiences it every time they write. But, I also want to tell you that is necessary for you to overcome it. But how? How do you push through when you know that you aren’t good enough? How do you push through when you know that your story is flat? The way you push through is to trust your instincts.

This may sound silly. Especially if you are writing your first book. And I admit that learning to trust your instincts is a skill that develops over time. However, being a new writer doesn’t mean that you don’t have instincts. You are a reader after all. You had read good books and bad books. You have developed a sense of poor writing, even if you are unaware of it. And, you are an expert in your field. You know what needs to be said about your subject.

The crippling fear comes from your terrible inner critic. The one who tells you that no one cares about what you have to say because it is stupid and you will only say it poorly and everyone will laugh at you. We’ve all heard that critic taunting us as we write. But guess what? You know more than they do. You are better than they say you are. And deep down you know it. You just have to train yourself to listen to your instincts and not your critic.

It’s kind of like learning to follow your inner moral compass, or discern the right direction to take. When you are faced with a decision in real life you have a bunch of voices telling you what to do, and you have to learn to listen to your instincts and not the voice that tells you to keep the $20 dollars that you saw someone drop, or the voice that tells you to stay where you are and not move because moving would be scary and you would probably never make friends in a new city.

Writing is a lot like that. Inner voices will tell you to just go ahead and stop because you are terrible at writing and even if you can find an editor to take your garbage and make it better, no one will read your book anyway because no one cares about what you wrote. You have to learn to ignore these voices and listen to your instincts.

What drove you to become a writer? What compelled you to write a book on this subject? Listen to that voice, it will guide you through the paralyzing fear and sustain you to the end. You have instincts, I promise. You just have to learn to quiet the other voices and then you will find your inner guiding light, as cheesy as that sounds.

What do you do to silence your inner critic? Share with us in the comments section below.