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August 1, 2022

Lowering your standards to discover your inner voice

Photo by Kelly on Pexels.

“When you face writer’s block, just lower your standards and keep going.” — Sandra Tsing Loh

This quote made me laugh out loud because it is exactly what I needed to read as I struggled with writing this article on “writer’s block”.

At first I contemplated the idea of writing a fantasy piece using Gandalf and Gollum on a quest to move a great stone blocking the way to a treasure. Using my usual method of operation I started composing the story in my head, sort of a mental outline, of how this writer’s block adventure would progress.

And then, as should have been easily predicted, I got stuck. The ideas were there. The passion and enthusiasm were definitely there. And the thing causing my block was there, front and center- the dreaded fear of it not being good enough, of it not being perfect. That fear, as it had countless times before, stopped my writing in its tracks. “What a silly idea” it said. “Who are you to think you can use some of the greatest characters in literature to get your point across?” “No one will understand your vision.” “This is so bad. You should just give up and go back to wasting your time watching true crime tv.”

Anyone else have those mean girl, annoying voices in their head? Letting go of the need to be perfect is so hard for me! It is a goal that neither myself or anyone else will ever accomplish. I could blame it on my Virgo sun sign or my compulsive need to people please. Or I could use the excuse that J. R. R. Tolkien has already created these perfect characters and I just need to enjoy reading their stories and let others do the writing.

Or I could lower my standards! My story doesn’t have to be profound or life changing. It doesn’t need to pass any imagined tests of perfection. It doesn’t have to be “The New Yorker” worthy.

It just has to be composed of words that speak my truth from my heart, like I am speaking to a friend.

I don’t have to live up to my perceived standards that the world (really it’s not the world- it’s just me) is imposing on my writing. So I am “lowering” those standards and living up to my own standards- which is simply writing from my heart with the intention of being of benefit to even one reader.

My inner voice- my inner hero self, helped me change direction, find my own voice and write these words for you.

May you find the courage to look past the perceived standards of the world and start the journey of finding your own standards, your own way, down this magical path!

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