Do you need to disband your committee of A**holes?

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Have you ever struggled with a Committee of A**holes? This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers…. 

My longtime friend Eve Johnson is a writer, a yoga-instructor and a posture coach.

I always enjoy her writing, never more so than when one of her ideas applies to the mind just as much as to the body.

In a recent blog post, Eve told the story of a client who had found that postural work had reduced the power of what the client termed her committee of A**holes.

What the heck is that? Eve describes them as, “the random, destructive, critical, knee-capping, self-negating attack thoughts that rise up in the mind, apparently from nowhere.”

While that committee is universally troublesome, I think it poses special challenges for writers. How can you write if negative thoughts are always hijacking your attention?  You know what I mean…

  • My writing is so boring
  • I need to make this piece really really good  — and I don’t know how to do that
  • This is such hard, tiresome work

As Eve puts with respect to posture: “practice cuts down on opportunities for the Committee to convene. Practicing alignment as you chop vegetables, for example, means you remain aware of your posture. There’s no dropping unconsciously into your thought stream, which means you can’t be hijacked by random shots from the committee. Furthermore, consciously choosing to relax multiple times a day eventually resets your anxiety level.”

And here is my advice for writers:

Don’t let your committee of a**holes take control of your writing. Instead, write without considering quality. And for goodness’ sake, break the habit of editing while you write.

Editing should always be a job for another day — after you have had a good long break, to get perspective.