So, you did it. You submitted your New Voices entry. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for the email announcing you're in the top twenty, right?
Or at least that's how it should be. Unfortunately, your inner critic often gets louder at times like these. It'll quite unhelpfully compare your entry to one you just read and enjoyed. It'll prevent you from finishing your chapter. It'll convince you that submitting is just too hard. In short, it sucks. It's also what's standing between you and your dreams.
The good news is that you can conquer it and here's how:
1. Recognise it.
Whether it's doubt (telling you that you can't or shouldn't do something), excuses (that are so easy to accept but in the long run prevent you from achieving your goals), pressure (telling you it's too hard and to stop now) or fear (that speaks of your inadequacies to prevent you moving forward), you need to be aware of the thought when it happens. Often this enough to pull it up short.
2. Replace it
Replace it with a positive thought. At first this may feel idiotic depending on how long your negative inner voice has had free reign but find comfort in the fact that you're not alone. Olympians use these same techniques and they had to start from scratch too. If that inner voice is telling you that your writing isn't good enough for New Voices, replace it with the thought that it is. Of course it is! Your voice and writing style is unique to you and the judges are looking for new and unique. If you don't enter, they can't discover you, and that would be a shame.
3. Reject it
If you find your inner critic is on some sort of playback loop you can interrupt it by saying "Stop!" in your mind. Sounds ridiculous, yes? Ah, but the mind is a funny thing and this sort of technique is enough to shock it in a similar way to if someone shouted the word in your face. Pinching yourself is another option, but it's a bit more of a shock to the system. Your mind will associate the thought with a negative response and do exactly as you say: stop. The more often you break the pattern, the less the loop occurs.
4. Reconstruct it
When you find yourself thinking negatively about your entry, use the word "but" and point out the positive aspects. For example, "My punctuation is lousy - but my characters are unique and engaging." We all want our entries to be perfect but "to err is human" and we often place too much importance on the little things that editors can be quoted saying won't rule you out. You won't be disqualified for forgetting comma, so don't sweat the small stuff. It's much nicer to focus on the things that are great about your entry because they're what will be responsible for getting you into the top 20. And if you don't know what they are, how will you repeat themin round two?
So, now you're all set to banish the crows of doubt. Remember, thoughts have tremendous power. They've been linked to the recovery or exacerbation of illnesses. Athletes the world over use these techniques. You don't get to the Olympics by believing you suck. You don't win the Olympics by believing you suck. The exact same thing can be said for your writing.
Source: Body and Soul