Duct Tape Your Inner Critic


If you're a writer of any kind you know about an internal editor (that little voice that after three laborious hours of writing says, "That, my friend, is drivel.")

Expand that to everyday living and you might find a little Aunt Mabel sitting on your shoulder, tapping her eyeglasses, and tut-tutting, "You can't do that. And you shouldn't be doing that. You should be... [fill in with various practical suggestions]."


When we have something solid in our souls, something we know can make us more and help others be more too, we need to turn around and duct tape that inner critic's mouth.

Blake Snyder, author of Save the Cat Strikes Back! shared his loser-to-success story. In 1989, he had spent seven unsuccessful years in Hollywood as a screenwriter and had returned home a failure. Then his father died. And through the experience he woke up and realized he had been listening to his inner critic. He says, "At a time and place where opportunity was all around me-I was standing in a field full of diamonds, refusing to reach down and pick up just one."

Have you done that before?

So he gets on a new mojo train-one with discipline, focus, and positive energy-and let's go of tuttering Aunt Mabel, and starts listening to "Yes, I can," adding patience and hard work and faith. He writes down three goals-all of them by his account "insane," and which included selling a screenplay for a million dollars. Yet he knew, in his soul, it was right.

Within seven months, he had achieved all three goals.

One day he thumbed through his old goal notebook and happened on one promise he had forgotten: "As part of giving back for achieving my goals, I will write a book about how to write a screenplay." Ironically, at that time, he had just completed the final installment of the huge bestselling Save the Cat! trilogy, a book dedicated to helping writers learn how to write better. And he did it in a genuine and generous way never before attained.

Unknowingly, he had achieved it all.

Perhaps it's time to break out of the self-imposed box and duct tape your inner critic. Definitely learn and grow and be open to feedback and helpful advice. But learn to listen to your soul, to know how your voice needs to be heard, the difference you can make, and what beautiful diamond you have to share with the world.



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