Writing Enemies- The Inner Judge
by Rasa Puzinaite
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Sun Tzu
Writing is a battle too. The one that starts in front of a blank page or even before opening it. It is you against you. Let’s start with you. Who are you? It might be an annoying question to answer as it is obvious that we are human beings, sisters, daughters, mothers, professionals, workers, etc. Yet does it completely define you? Who’s left when you take off all of your social labels, your gender, race, beliefs, age, etc.? Who are you when you are alone with no need to prove anything to anybody, no need to pretend you’re something better? Who are you when you are in your heart and not in your mind? Something beyond words. Something sacred. From my own experience I know that it is one of the hardest things to get to the core of you. Good news is that it is possible and absolutely worth it to go through all the challenges. Anyone can do it. The secret is simple – you just have to take your life into your hands and do it. Which you are you battling?
Besides many other tasks that need to be tackled while getting to know the inner you, knowing your personal dark sides or shadows is a huge step forward towards free flowing creativity and blank pages filled with wonderful texts. One of the 'enemies' is called the 'Inner Judge'. It is easily recognizable from the way it talks in your head (Nope, it's no schizophrenia, just ordinary mind conversation). If we take the example of a writer we might hear such chitchats as “You suck at writing. Why do you even try?” or “You'll never beat Dostoyevsky. Why do you waste your time?” or “Everything is already written on Wikipedia. Why world needs to read one more time about the meaning of the hijab?” The last sentence is actually from my own Inner Judge on my initial idea to write this month's article about the hijab.
What does your Inner Judge say to you? Write it down so the next time you struggle to write you can check if it is not your Inner Judge stopping you from successful writing. Recognition is a huge step forwards itself because when you know with whom you are dealing with it is then easier to make future moves in winning the battle. Here are some tips on how to deal with your Inner Judge when you catch yourself hearing it.
Tell it to stop talking and go away – you’re the boss.
Thank it for the remarks and tell you need some peace and quiet right now.
Ask it such questions as “So what?”, “And?”, “Why not?”, “Who cares?”, etc. Nevertheless, the results you want to achieve with your writing come after the writing process. You will definitely have more creative results when you write relaxed and enjoy the process Here are some tips in my previous article.
Make the Inner Judge your friend. If you listen carefully to it, it might bring up some helpful insights. For example, if you want to write really badly but don’t find time for it ever and the Judge is pestering you about this. Then maybe you need to do something about it. With no guilt and blame on yourself, start from writing one sentence a day. While sitting on the bus to work, into your mobile phone notes – it’s a minute of your time but you will feel definitely better than doing nothing about your dream!
When the Inner Judge compares you to other writers, tell it what you already have achieved yourself. The only comparison you can make is of you at this moment and of you yesterday (or a year ago, i.e.). The other people have their own unique story and so do you.
Ask yourself what do you really want to do. The Inner Judge is a compilation of the criticism from your environment, other people’s thoughts, social constructs that tell how a person should behave, work, and live overall. What does your perfect life look like if you can do whatever you want with no limitations? What would you write about if you can write about anything?