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You Can’t Say That!

How Your Inner Critic or Emotional Censor Can Silence You

NAMW April Member Teleseminar
Judy Reeves
April 20, 2018
11 AM PDT  | 12pm MDT | 1pm CDT  | 2pm EDT

Most every writer has voices that speak to her and not all those voices are encouraging, many in fact get in the way of our writing and hold us back from telling our truth. Most often these are old voices, messages we picked up along the way, usually when we were very young—perhaps being shamed by a teacher or frequently criticized. We may not actually “hear” these inner voices or even be aware they are part of us, but they may be what cause us to procrastinate writing the story we want to write or stop writing all together. The inner critic repeats negative self-talk and stirs up all kinds of fears and anxieties. The perfectionist keeps us revising and revising or stops us from ever showing our work to anyone. The guilt-tripper tells us it’s protecting us when, in reality, it’s keeping us silent instead of opening up and saying what we want to say the way we want to say it.

If you recognize some of these traits in your own writing, you’re not alone. The inner critic or emotional censor plagues most writers at some time or another, especially when we get close to breaking the silence and writing those stories that want to be told—stories that need to be told.

Our time together will include several short writing exercises that will give you clues about when your critic or censor is getting in the way of writing your truth. We’ll offer techniques that you can try out right then and there and take with you as you continue to write your story and tell your truths.

Participants will:

  • Identify the telltale signs that the inner critic or censor is present in the writing
  • Discover the messages these voices send and their effects on writing the truth
  • Learn techniques to silence the voices
  • Write from prompts in short, timed exercises
  • Draft the first rough words of a piece that wants to be written

Judy Reeves is a writer, teacher, and writing practice provocateur whose four books on writing include A Writer’s Book of Days, named “Best Nonfiction” by the San Diego Book Awards and, most recently, Wild Women, Wild Voices. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has appeared in the San Diego ReaderThe Frozen Moment; A Year in Ink; Connotations Press; Serving House Journal; Waymark; Expressive Writing, Classroom and Community, and other journals and anthologies. Two plays, written with a women’s writing ensemble, were produced by the Fritz Theater. She’s also served as editor for several journals and chapbooks. She has been leading community-based writing practice groups for twenty-five years and teaches at writing conferences internationally and at San Diego Writers, Ink, a nonprofit literary center she cofounded. Current writing project: a memoir based on an around-the-world trip she took many years ago. Judy’s website is judyreeveswriter.com where she posts blogs on The Lively Muse.





  1. Sushma

    do i need to announce myself while the seminar has started?

    • Erica

      Hi Sushma,

      Only if you choose to. After a few moments, everyone except for Linda Joy and Judy (the presenter) will be muted.

      Kind Regards,

  2. Colleen Morrison

    Oh I missed it! Will there be a recording sent out?

    Thank you!

    • Erica

      Hi Colleen,

      The recording went out to all members earlier this week. Please let me know if you did not receive it.

      Kind Regards,


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