Sometimes you simply run into things that you need to read at this moment, you know? Today, I needed to gain some insight into my inner critic. Now, I’m sure you have your own inner critic, so you have an idea who I’m talking about. My inner critic is the voice that tells me that I have to write perfectly or I’m simply not good enough to call myself a writer.
The inner critic is vague about what “perfectly” means. Therefore, she sees flaws in everything I produce. Her message seems to be: “Whatever you write, it will never be good enough for anyone else to read but me. And I think everything you write sucks.”
In his blog post Facing the inner critic, Seth Godin writes:
[The inner critic is] living right next to our soft spot, the (very) sore place where we store our shame, our insufficiency, our fraudulent nature. And he knows all about it, and pokes us there again and again.
Godin provided a link to Steve Chapman’s Tedx Talk titled This talk isn’t very good. Dancing with my inner critic. Chapman offers creative approaches to those inevitable encounters with that inevitable presence. Check it out.
Both Godin and Chapman suggest that we stop resisting the inner critic. This gives her more power than is warranted. Look her in the eye, see her for what she is, and keep creating.
So as I was writing today, I listened to my inner critic’s voice just long enough to realize that I did need to change a phrase or a word to make a paragraph clearer, to let my intention emerge.
Creativity is much more fluid when the inner critic is present but not in charge.