Dealing with Your Inner Critic

I’ve taken a few hits to my confidence recently.

It’s not that I don’t believe in myself as a writer, but occasionally I receive a blow that’s difficult to absorb.

I’ve put forth a few writing samples that weren’t well received. There’s nothing wrong with the writing itself, at least not from the feedback I’ve received, but the stories just didn’t grab people the way I had hoped.

Then my brain overreacts trying to weed out the problem. Was the writing poor? Maybe the subject wasn’t interesting? Maybe the audience wasn’t right for the material?

Essentially it’s like delivering a case of military grade munitions to my inner critic.

Which threatens to grind my writing to a stand still.

I have deadlines. Expectations to meet. I don’t have the luxury of negotiating a cease fire with Rambo and convincing him not to destroy my peaceful village of made-up people dwelling in my Right Hemisphere.

Yes, Rambo. Creative, probably not, but an accurate reflection of my inner critic and appropriately left brained.

So today, I’ve been deflecting Rambo using a few tools:

 

Step 1: Give Your Inner Critic an Outlet

Write, draw, sculpt, whatever. Take all that energy coming from your inner critic and focus it into your work.

Your inner critic has a voice too, and denying that voice builds energy inside yourself. You become a vessel for all that energy and without a place to go, it can drown you.

The good news is you have ways to release that energy. Set it free. Bottling it up or ignoring it will only prolong your agony.

 

Step 2: Don’t Hold Back

Once you’ve given your inner critic an outlet, don’t hold back. Let out everything.

This isn’t an exercise in creativity. It’s popping a release valve to free room for your artistic pursuits.

You throw yourself into your artistic endeavors. Show your inner critic the same respect. It’s a part of you. Part of what make you whole. It deserves respect too.

 

Step 3: Put it Away

Don’t destroy it. Don’t even look at it. Just put it out of sight somewhere, like that basement corner you’re pretty sure the devil lives in.

You’ve probably released some extremely negative energy. There’s no need to keep that in sight. If you’re at all like me, it might even be self-destructive energy.

 

You may be literally buzzing with energy now or completely drained.

One day, maybe, you’ll dig into those relics haunting your basement and discover some pretty amazing things.

That source of inner strength that kept you going despite the criticism.

The unrelenting drive that wouldn’t allow you to quit.

That the most powerful source of inspiration and encouragement was there all along.

Inside of you.

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