Tame Your Inner Writing Critic: Advice from Julia Cameron

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No matter how confident you may appear on the outside, there’s no getting away from your inner critic. We all hear it at one time or another; some more than others.

You know what I’m talking about: That voice inside your head that says “Who am I to think I’m a writer?” or “That’s such a lame idea for a book or blog post” or “Where did I ever get the notion that I’m talented?”

This pesky little voice will also speak up when it comes to marketing and sales: “That’s a stupid promotion idea! People will laugh at you!” or “Don’t be too pushy asking people to buy your books. You’ll sound like an idiot!”

Sound familiar?

Well, I want to share with you one creative way to handle your inner critic that I’ve found to be very effective in shutting it down. This piece of advice comes from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and many other books.

Her secret? She calls her inner critic “Nigel.” That’s right, she gives that negative voice its own name and personality. According to Cameron, Nigel is a flamboyant British designer.


Giving your internal voice a silly name and turning it into a cartoon-like character defuses its impact. How can you take your inner critic seriously when you dress it up in such an outlandish manner?

Another important point Cameron makes: “People come to me and they expect to be taught how to be fearless. They think I’m fearless. I say, ‘No, no, I create despite the fear.'”

Great advice!

So I ask you: How do YOU write and promote “despite the fear”? How do you tame your inner critic? I welcome your coments.


The image above is by RoyalConstantineSociety via Flickr.


One single comment

  1. Lana88 says:

    I try to ignore that inner critic because I know that ultimately, writing is my getaway and my stress reliever! It is my hope that I can provide the sanctuary of my writings to others so that they can have a getaway, too. So when my inner critic starts saying those mean things (and it often does) I just yell write back – “you don’t know what writing means to me and you’re gonna have to do better than that!”

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