Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Lawyer Wednesday: The Internal Critic

From my experience, some attorneys have profoundly vicious and deeply internalized critical voices. In law school, your work is shot down, often harshly; you need to develop thick skin for the professional world, you are told. Some of you work in environments characterized by a state of discord at best, and outright hostility at worst. Under such conditions, it is normal to internalize these self-downing views of your work, often just outside of awareness, as you try to be tough and become impervious to them. Not so easy: it is normal (although not helpful) that some of these internal voices profoundly impact your ability to write efficiently.

In this blog, I have written a good deal about methods and techniques for reprogramming self-downing congnitions. Check out the posts starting here!

But before you start challenging these beliefs, you have to begin identifying them. This may entail a bit of self-reflection which may feel new, or may to some seem like a waste of valuable time. However, this is one of the best ways of beginning the process of quieting your internal critic, which is one of the most central aspects of what is referred to in the popular literature as "writer's block" (which really is a complex constellation of several psychosocial barriers).

Make a log of what you are telling yourself and what you believe about your writing, and about yourself while writing. If you are not in touch with these thoughts, ask yourself what you MIGHT be thinking. These are usually pretty accurate.

Identifying them is the first step. Check out the tools I wrote about last summer for some ideas on how to begin contending with your internal critic.

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