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Inner critic

Identify your loudest criticism of yourself as a writer, and also consider what its opposite could be.

Eg: I have nothing interesting to say. Write about a character who ONLY does interesting and surprising things. Give them startling features, unusual clothes or a fascinating habit. Then let them do whatever they want to. But it has to be interesting. Falling off a roof while skateboarding, setting off fireworks while hot air ballooning…

I’m not good enough. Write a saintly character who everyone thinks is perfect in every way. Then give them a really juicy secret which they’re trying hard to hide.

Everyone else’s writing is better than mine. Write about a character who’s only able to excel at everything they do, even when they don’t want to. In fact, whatever they do, they do it all so brilliantly that at some point, they become desperate for something to go horribly wrong…

This is a waste of time. Write about a character who never wastes any time at all. Everything they do is incredibly useful. Time is being used to its fullest extent. When on earth can they sleep? Maybe they can’t?

These are some examples from groups I’ve worked with previously. What is most effective is if we listen out for our own inner critic, and use a prompt which feels true. The inner critic only stops us writing if we let them bully us. What if… we could play with them instead?

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Curate your own literary festival

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