Sometimes the voice of the inner bully is deafening. It screams so loud that I can’t hear myself think, let alone receive the creative inspiration I need when I’m writing. On those days, I take my inner artist by the hand, walk her to our writing place, and stand behind her as she gets started.
I have your back, I tell her. Don’t worry. Just write.
I’ve gotten pretty good at handling the pesky critics that live in my head. Sometimes I let them have their say. I sit on the floor in my office while they drone on and on about how I’m an okay writer but not great, and I file my nails until they get tired. Other times I go to my computer, open a blank page, and type everything they say until they notice that I’m merely taking notes, not taking it in, and they quiet down.
The best tactic of all is when I call a fellow artist and spill the beans about what’s going on. I tell her what the cranky choir is saying so I can hear her tell me that she has the same voices squawking in her head, too. We laugh and moan, coach and console each other, and then we both get back to work.
For years I tried to silence the inner critics by fighting with them, but the attention just gave them more power and ammunition to keep getting in the way. So, I gave up the fight. I surrendered instead to the reality that anything worth doing is going to rouse critics (both inner and outer, by the way) and since I’m only interested in doing worthy things, I’d have to learn how to live with them. And now I do.
When the artist in me is being suffocated by the voices of doom, I gently whisper, Trust yourself, sweetheart. Keep going. The groove you’re looking for is just around the corner.
Fortunately, she listens. Because in the end, that’s all we really need – a loving presence to host our fear until it feels seen and heard and ready to dissolve.
And it will. The power of creativity is too strong to be held captive.
A committee of critics will always be on the attendee list of any significant creative event. Just make sure you invite way more friends. 😀