The secret to silencing the inner critic.
Creativity is open to us all. There are no blessed few. Just active practitioners, people who practice it with an open mind and are open to new experiences. This openness is key; it is like an openness to travel. If you’re open to travel and new places to go, you’ll tap into creativity more readily. You have to be open. If you’re closed up, defensive, only keen on what you know and see and not at all focused on the adjacent possible, you’ll miss it. You will miss tapping into Creativity entirely. You have to be open to it and work at it each day in whatever format that looks like for you. Creators create. They get after the work. They set a daily goal for what they want to get done and they go. They know they’re ready even if they don’t feel like it. The work may require some courage, Creative Courage because some people may not like the output. But there’s always negative feedback no matter what we do. People always got an opinion even when they shouldn’t have one. Most peoples’ options are not worth the digital textbox they put them in. Seek only those trusted advisors’ opinions as the ones to trust.
You have to create a lot in order to get to the good stuff. And some of your stuff will repeat. That’s OK. Don’t be afraid of this. You can always edit it later. The more you create, the more you’re finding your true voice. You’re in discovery mode, exploring new grounds you haven’t been to before. How can you judge it if it is brand new? You can’t. Not honestly. What if you’re taking people where they’ve never been before? What if you’re saying things they don’t get anywhere else? What if you’re building something that the so called experts say cannot be done? What if you’re trying to level an unlevel playing field? What then? What if you’re righting a wrong for a group of people? There’s a creative act right there. How can you judge any of these things?
Which brings me to judgement. Or, better, far better, nonjudgment. What if you didn’t judge your own work? What if when you were done with it, you just set it out there and let others say what they will say? Of course, they will judge it! We are all judge-first-even-though-I-am-not-an-expert human beings. We all think we are entitled to our opinions and will be damned if we cannot express them. Yes, really. But what if the Creative suppressed their judgement of their own creation? The Creative would be far, far better off. Yet this is the hardest thing for us to do, even harder than the Creative act itself. Suspending negative judgement or disbelief in our own stuff is super hard! We are all our own worst critic. Yet what if we could suspend it and kept working? What if we suspend it, publish the work, and then move onto the next Creative act? What if we’re already ready to move on?
Remember: we are our own worst critic. Yet we feel this drive to Create every day. In fact, a day without a creative act is a wasted day to us. There has to be some creativity exhibited each day or else we feel we haven’t done our work. We feel awful. That’s why we have to work at it, hammer away at the works, getting after the project, being better than we were yesterday. The best is when you can nearly silence the inner critic. Yes, it is possible. Inner chatter can be near silenced. It takes a lot of work and practice. Yet this act is possible. And it is a hell of a Creative act!
Silencing a judgmental figure in your life is wonderful! Esp if it is yourself. To work in silence is fabulous for the Creative. You simply work and work and work until your session is finished. ✅ Like a craftsman. Like a trades person. Little chatter. Maybe some metal playing. And just you and the work. Wonderful!
How do you silence the inner critic? Meditation. Thought monitoring. Reminding yourself of past successes you’ve had. Telling yourself about your track record. Creating your future through writing and positive future casting. Hanging around positive, supportive, Creative, like-minded people. Telling yourself better stories. Encouraging yourself and others along the journey. Believing in the adjacent possible while being open to new experiences. And keep Creating no matter what. Great Creativity is all about output. These are the ways, when combined, help silence the inner critic. It also helps to never read peoples; reviews. People will say what they say. Let them. Put on your Bose Noise Cancelling headphones and keep creating. You can’t hear them. Creatives are hypersensitive to sound, esp to critics’ voices. Drown them out with your favorite music, and keep creating even more.
To get out of judging your own work, keep reminding yourself that it doesn’t matter what /you/ think about the Creative work. It only matters what your audience thinks. Even then, you don’t have to rely upon this metric 100%. No. It is an ethos, a spirit of the work: create without judgement. A constant, incessant reminder: create without judgement. /It doesn’t matter what I think about this, I still GO and move and put this out./ Output is what matters. Prolific output. Let others decide and judge as they will.
Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen used to call all of his songs “my babies.” He loved them all equally. He never said one song stood out to him above the rest. Each one was its own unique creation, its own form of collaborative, musical perfection placed together on an album. Not one was wildly better than another. To do so would be like picking your daughter over your son with preferential treatment. Why would you do that? Well, why would you do that with your Creative works? You shouldn’t. Each one has its own wonderment about it. Its own problem it is solving. Its own amazement of Creative manifestation. How do you regard your past Creative works? Even ones that never get published and still sit on an SSD or canvas in your studio? How do you regard your creative babies you birthed? Hopefully, without harsh condemnation of your offspring! They’re all wonderful if you think they are. Or, they are simply something you brought into this world yourself, making something out of nothing.
Let’s take on that last point: making something out of nothing. We are creating something — a solution, a painting, a video, a training — that did not ever exist before! We are 100% creating something from scratch! You should take great pride in that as a creator. There are few acts that spawn that level of human greatness. It’s one of my favorite things to say: “I create things out of thin air!” Sounds so impressive, doesn’t it? Esp if you get paid for it. There is tremendous pride in manifesting something out of the ether, making something where nothing before existed. Be proud of that! There is Creators’ pride. Show it. Maybe not too overtly, but be proud of what you do. Be proud of what you bring into the Creative world. Be proud of your contribution to the Creative world. I’ve noticed that most Creatives don’t exhibit a lot of pride in what they do. They’re humble, which is fine. But there’s also nothing wrong with wearing some pride on your sleeve to showcase your art, esp if it is a taboo sleeve! Show it off!
Here’s the challenge: shut down the inner critic. Do not judge your own creations. And always be Creating because there is no need to stop. Writers write. Painters paint. Actors act. Singers sing. Guitarists play. Keep going. Keep creating. Keep publishing. Keep moving. Go. We need you.